BOSTON (CBS) — This year’s Veterans Day was a little extra special for Patriots long snapper/Navy Lieutenant Joe Cardona. On Wednesday, he was announced as the team’s nominee for the 10th annual “Salute to Service Award.”

The award is presented annually by USAA and the NFL to a league member who demonstrates an exemplary commitment to honoring and supporting the military community. Cardona certainly fits that bill.

Cardona has been New England’s long snapper since 2015, when he graduated from the Naval Academy. He was an Ensign in the Navy and worked as a staff officer at the Naval Academy Preparatory School in Rhode Island during his rookie season, before transferring to the Navy Reserves in 2016. Cardona was promoted to Lieutenant Junior Grade and served as a junior commissioned officer in the United States Navy in 2017. He was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant in the Navy in 2019.

Cardona proudly wears his Naval uniform when the team boards its plane for away games, and he has facilitated more than a dozen re-enlistment and retirement ceremonies at Gillette Stadium for fellow military members.

Each NFL team nominated a player for this year’s Salute to Service Award on Wednesday, with finalists for the award scheduled to be announced in January. This year’s recipient will be recognized at the NFL Honors award show during the week of Super Bowl LV.

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