Peyton Manning, who reached quasi-legendary status in the Volunteer State when he starred for the University of Tennessee, validated that status on Saturday night when he visited the Naval Marine Corps Reserve Center in Chattanooga to spend time with military personnel and police officers.
Four U.S. Marines were shot to death by an Islamic gunman at the Naval Marine Corps Reserve Center on Amnicola Highway last week; a fifth member of the military died Saturday from injuries resulting from the shooting, while one Chattanooga police officer has still not left the hospital.
The Chattanooga police tweeted their appreciation:
— Chattanooga Police (@ChattanoogaPD) July 19, 2015
As CBS Sports noted, Manning’s off-the-filed exploits confirm his status as a compassionate man. He once asked the Broncos’ front office to track down the address of a former Indianapolis Colts fan who lived near the North Pole after the man’s wife had written without a return address asking if her husband, an Army sergeant, could meet visit him, leading to a meeting in Cincinnati. Manning wore a towel during a pre-season game with the name “Chris Crowson” on it, honoring a nine-year-old Broncos fan who had died earlier that summer. He sent a personalized note and autographed picture to a grandmother who had written him about her 15-year-old grandson, a huge fan of Manning’s, who was killed by a drunk driver.
The quarterback’s generosity led to a children’s hospital in Indianapolis naming the institution for Manning.