Pat Tillman was an NFL player who left the league to join the Army and was killed by friendly fire. Service, learning and action were all principles he lived by and in the 12 years since his death, more than 400 military veterans have benefited from those principles by receiving academic scholarships to help them pursue their dreams after serving in the military.
Now the Pat Tillman Foundation, in partnership with the NFL, is honoring a servicewoman who’s given so much to her country.
“They told me I won the scholarship and I was over the moon,” Reagan Odhner, who enlisted in the Marine Corps right out of high school, told ABC News of being honored as a Tillman Scholar.
“She’s a superstar,” said Indianapolis Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri. “I just met her and I love her. When I read her bio, initially I was like, ‘Are you kidding me? This woman is amazing.’”
Odhner served two dangerous tours in Afghanistan, and two days after her service with the Marines ended, she enrolled at Stanford. In the meantime, she had been battling unknown health issues and was later diagnosed with stage 2 Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
She said the most rewarding part of her time in the service was when “we got to teach the local government officials about women’s rights. It was extremely educational for me and I hope for them.”
The 27-year-old said she is now “doing extremely well” and today she’s doing even better thanks to a huge surprise on “Good Morning America.”
“I’ve got family in the military as well,” four-time Super Bowl champ, Vinatieri, began. “And we just wanted to thank you so much for service and for everything you’ve done for our country.”
He then presented Odhner with two tickets to enjoy the Super Bowl.
“Oh my gosh, thank you,” she said, giving hugs all around.