Every year, The ESPYS honor an individual with a strong connection to sports who has served others in a way that echoes the legacy of former NFL player and U.S. Army Ranger Pat Tillman.
This year, the show will recognize Kirstie Ennis, a former Marine Corps Sergeant who is helping the community through the Kirstie Ennis Foundation, by giving her The Pat Tillman Award for Service sponsored by Mass Mutual at the 2019 ESPYS.
While on duty in Afghanistan, Ennis was in a helicopter crash in an active combat zone that resulted in severe injuries including facial trauma, a traumatic brain injury, cervical and lumbar spine trauma, and bilateral shoulder damage. Following more than a dozen surgeries, doctors decided to amputate above the knee on her left leg. Having been an athlete for most of her life, Ennis turned to sports as part of her recovery. She founded the Kirstie Ennis Foundation to provide education and opportunity in the outdoors and to support other non-profits dedicated to improving the quality of life of individuals and families.
In addition, Ennis is currently striving to become the first female above-the-knee amputee to summit all seven of the world’s highest peaks, having already successfully summited four, to raise money for non-profits dedicated to improving the quality of life of individuals and families.
“After being medically retired from the Marine Corps due to my injuries sustained overseas, I have dedicated my life to serving others in a different way. To receive the Pat Tillman Award and to be associated with a true American hero is a tremendous honor,” said Ennis. “It has taken a village to get me to this point in my life, and I would not be where I am now without the amazing people surrounding me. To me, this is a symbol of community and what it means to pay it forward.
The Pat Tillman Award for Service was established in 2014 to commemorate the former NFL player and U.S. Army Ranger’s legacy, and honor an individual with a strong connection to sports who has served others in a way that echoes the legacy of Tillman. Past honorees include U.S. Paralympic gold medal sled hockey player and Purple Heart recipient Josh Sweeney (2014), and former Notre Dame basketball player, Iraq war veteran and Purple Heart recipient Danielle Green (2015), U.S. Army Sgt. and Invictus Games gold medalist Elizabeth Marks (2016), and Purple Heart recipient and Invictus Games gold medalist Israel Del Toro (2017), and Navy-Marine Commendation Medal recipient, Sergeant Jake Wood (2018).
Hosted by Tracy Morgan, the 2019 ESPYS will air LIVE from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Wednesday, July 10th @ 8PM ET/PT on ABC.