34 for 40 Trans Americas Motorcycle World Record Attempt - Benefitting the Pat Tillman Foundation
Pat Tillman is the inspiration for the Pat Tillman Foundation and 34 for 40. Pat is often noted in the media as “America’s Hero,” and here’s why he is so much more than that …
Pat Daniel Tillman
November 6, 1975 – April 22, 2004
Pat TillmanPat was born November 6th, 1976 in San Jose, California to Mary and Patrick Sr. He was the oldest of three sons (Kevin and Richard).
He attended Leland High School in San Jose, California (1990-1994), where his senior year he led his team to the Central Coast Section Division I Football Championship, and earned co-Player of the Year honors for the Central Coast Section.
College BallCollege Career
Pat received the last football scholarship Arizona State University offered in 1994. Despite being considered undersized, he quickly became one of the most dominant players on the field. In 1996, he helped lead the Sun Devils to the 1997 Rose Bowl after an undefeated regular season. Pat’s intensity on (and off) the field made him a clear fan favorite. His dominating play at linebacker earned him three selections to the All-Pac-10 Team and the Pac-10 Conference’s Defensive Player of the Year Award in 1997.
Behind the scenes of football glory, Pat worked diligently on his marketing degree - graduating Summa Cum Laude in just three and a half years with a B.S. in Marketing from ASU’s prestigious W.P. Carey School of Business. His intense focus and sheer determination led him to three consecutive selections to the Pac-10 All-Academic Football Team, a 1st team Academic All-American honor, as well as the NCAA’s Post-Graduate Scholarship for academic and athletic excellence. Perhaps Pat’s most impressive accomplishment as an ASU student was the high regard he received from nearly everyone he came in contact with, especially his professors and coaches.
CardinalsThe Cardinals Years
In the 1998 NFL Draft, the Arizona Cardinals selected Pat Tillman in the seventh round. Even though many people questioned his ability to make the opening-day roster, he soon became the team’s starting safety and broke the franchise record for tackles in 2000 with 224. Already a hometown favorite, Pat’s rugged play earned him accolades across the country.
Refusing to allow the fame and fortune of professional football to affect him, Pat drove the same old truck he had in college (without air conditioning) and refused to be tethered by a cell-phone. Pat also found new ways to physically and mentally challenge himself off the field - from competing in a marathon prior to the 2000 season and a half Ironman triathlon the following summer, pursuing a master’s degree in history from his alma mater. He would read voraciously attempting to better understand many different topics. These included the roots of current political and social systems, the conflicts among them, all the while developing, debating and discussing his ideas with his eager listeners, family and friends. Pat made your passion his passion and listened intently as his friends, family and strangers shared their thoughts and opinions.
During his years as a Cardinal, Pat volunteered with the Boys and Girls Club of Arizona, Boys Hope Girls Hope and March of Dimes and went to elementary, middle and high schools around the Phoenix valley to read to kids and give talks.
Pat married Marie, the woman he had been devoted to since high school, in the spring of 2002. Upon returning from their honeymoon, he informed the Cardinals of the decision he made with Marie to place his NFL career on hold and become a U.S. Army Ranger with his brother, Kevin. The decision shocked many and garnered national media attention despite his refusal to speak publicly about the choice.
His words from an interview the day after the attacks of September 11th, 2001, speak for themselves: “At times like this you stop and think about just how good we have it, what kind of system we live in and the freedoms we are allowed. A lot of my family has gone and fought in wars and I really haven’t done a damn thing.”
IraqU.S. Army Rangers
Pat and Kevin joined the U.S. Army in July of 2002, committing to a three-year term. They were assigned to the second battalion of the 75th Ranger Regiment in Fort Lewis, Washington. They served tours in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 and in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom in 2004.
Pat and Kevin were recipients of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 11th Annual ESPY Awards in 2003.
In the evening of April 22nd, 2004, Pat’s unit was ambushed as it traveled through the rugged canyon terrain of Eastern Afghanistan. His heroic efforts to provide cover for his fellow soldiers as they escaped from the canyon led to his tragic death via fratricide.
Pat TillmanPosthumously
“I am heartbroken today by the news of Pat Tillman’s death,” Arizona Senator John McCain said. “The tragic loss of this extraordinary young man will seem a heavy blow to our nation’s morale, as it is surely a grievous injury to his loved ones.”
Pat Tillman’s courage and valor have led to posthumous awards of the military’s Silver Star and Purple Heart medals, as well as a promotion in rank from Specialist to Corporal. While the story of Pat’s death may have been the most publicized in the War on Terror, sadly, it is merely one of the thousands of tragic stories that deserve recognition.
As Steve White, Navy SEAL and family friend stated, “1975-2004, that one little dash in there represents a lifetime. How do we spend our dash?”
Pat’s ‘dash’ was something we should all aspire to. Pat’s family and friends started the Pat Tillman Foundation to carry forward his legacy.
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