Former Wisconsin offensive lineman Jake Wood will be honored at next month’s ESPY awards with the Pat Tillman Service Award.
After a four-year career with the Badgers from 2001-04, Wood’s next, and greatest, challenge would be serving his country.
In his senior year, Wood enlisted with the U.S. Marines, where he served in Iraq and Afghanistan as a scout sniper until being honorably discharged in 2009. Wood said his desire to join the Marines was inspired by the first responders in New York who acted after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
But Wood’s service would not end there. After his time in the military, Wood, along with fellow Marine William McNulty, went on to create Team Rubicon, an organization which worked to assist those in need following the 2010 Haitian earthquake.
The organization serves to both provide assistance to disaster-affected regions as well as give veterans an outlet to continue their service. Team Rubicon accepts veterans from across the world to help reintegrate them and satisfy their continued desire to serve.
Through the international organization, veterans in Team Rubicon have helped in disasters like the 2010 floods in Pakistan and the 2010 Chile tsunami. In the U.S., Team Rubicon worked in the aftermath of Hurricane Mathew, Hurricane Isaac, Superstorm Sandy and the devastating tornado in Moore, Oklahoma.
Wood follows in the footsteps of many other former athletes who have pursued lives of service following their athletic careers. Pat Tillman, the namesake of Wood’s award, was an NFL safety before leaving the league in 2002 to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan.
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Much like Wood, Tillman was inspired to serve after the 9/11 terror attacks. Tillman died in 2004 during his service in Afghanistan. His death led his friends and family to create the Pat Tillman Foundation in his honor.
The ESPYs announced Wood would receive the Pat Tillman Service Award in a Tweet Monday.