Former Green Beret, NFL player Nate Boyer speaks at Patriot Day celebration

IVINS — A former Green Beret and NFL football player told audience members at a Patriot Day celebration Friday that freedoms enjoyed by Americans were hard won by the nation’s veterans and must be protected.

The Southern Utah Veterans Home hosted the Patriot Day community celebration featuring Nate Boyer, a former U.S. Army Green Beret and member of the Seattle Seahawks football team.

Former Green Beret and NFL Seattle Seahawks player, Nate Boyer, speaks at the Southern Utah Veterans Home annual Patriot Day community celebration at 160 N. 200 East, Ivins, Utah, Sept 9, 2016 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News
Former Green Beret and NFL Seattle Seahawks player, Nate Boyer, speaks at the Southern Utah Veterans Home annual Patriot Day community celebration at 160 N. 200 East, Ivins, Utah, Sept 9, 2016 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News

He spoke to a crowded auditorium of veterans and their families.

“Most of the real heroes, unfortunately, aren’t with us anymore,” Boyer said, addressing the event’s theme, “What it means to be a hero.”

We have the freedom we enjoy today because of the sacrifices of veterans, he said.

Boyer spoke about his life, starting from when he volunteered in Sudan to his decision to join the Special Forces. He continued serving in the military while playing football in college as a long snapper for the Texas Longhorns.

An elaborate flag ceremony was conducted by Boy Scout Troop 1827, featuring flags from United States history. Boyer addressed the Scouts directly, telling them that they can achieve whatever they want and not to listen to the detractors.

The Southern Utah Veterans Home annual Patriot Day community celebration featured former Green Beret and NFL Seattle Seahawks player, Nate Boyer as keynote speaker at 160 N. 200 East, Ivins, Utah, Sept 9, 2016 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News
The Southern Utah Veterans Home annual Patriot Day community celebration started with a flag ceremony conducted by Boy Scout Troop 1827. The event featured former Green Beret and NFL Seattle Seahawks player, Nate Boyer, as keynote speaker, Ivins, Utah, Sept 9, 2016 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News

“There’s a lot of hate going on in the country right now,” Boyer said.

“Everything is just too black and white, and I’m trying to be the gray man, trying to do what I can to sort of bridge the gap,” he said.

Boyer recalled learning about Pearl Harbor when he was younger and compared that event to the war on terror that resulted from the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. It was then that he said he gained his patriotism.

He continues to pursue his passion, Boyer said, and is currently partnered with several organizations aimed at supporting veterans.

He’d like the theme of his life to be “finding a way to fight for those who can’t fight for themselves.”

Southern Utah Veteran Home Administrator Jerry Olson spoke briefly about the veterans home.

“Our mission is to take care of veterans” Olson said. “I feel like I am working with heroes every day.”

Entertainer Brodie Perry sang to the audience at the conclusion of the event. Audience members lined up to get autographs from Boyer following his speech.

The Southern Utah Veterans Home annual Patriot Day community celebration featured former Green Beret and NFL Seattle Seahawks player, Nate Boyer as keynote speaker at 160 N. 200 East, Ivins, Utah, Sept 9, 2016 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News
A member of Boy Scout Troop 1827 addresses the Southern Utah Veterans Home annual Patriot Day community celebration featured Boy Scout Troop 1827, Ivins, Utah, Sept 9, 2016 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News

Ivins Mayor Chris Hart attended the event.

“I think the message, particularly for our young people, that developing worthwhile dreams and pursuing them with all your heart, that things are possible to do if you’re willing to put the energy into it,” Hart said at the conclusion of the event.

The Patriot Day celebration is in its second year at the Veterans Home. Olson plans to make the holiday an integral part of the facility.

Those who missed the event can see Boyer speak again Saturday at 3 p.m. in the Snow Canyon High School auditorium, 1385 Lava Flow Drive, St George.

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Email: jwitham@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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