Marcus Rashford
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Marcus Rashford Received Pat Tillman Award For Covid Relief Services

Marcus Rashford, a Manchester United soccer player, helped raise millions of dollars to feed children in England during the pandemic. For his commitment, he was awarded the Pat Tillman Award for Service at the 2021 ESPY Awards.

“What I’m doing is nothing to do with football,” Rashford said. “It’s to do with what’s right and what’s wrong.”


When the pandemic hit in March 2020, England shut down schools which ended the free meal programs at school. In a six-minute documentary that aired during the ESPYs, Marcus Rashford explained how he and his family had to rely on free school meals and community programs to help provide meals for them.

“I’m a very very private person. What goes on in mine and my family’s life would have stayed private forever, but in my mind I knew that it was something that had to be done,” Rashford said.


The support he received through his community at a young age taught him how to give back to the community in a monumental way. Once he recognized how children in England weren’t going to receive free school meals, he wrote an open letter to England’s government asking them to reconsider providing free school meals for low-income families when schools closed due to the pandemic.

“10 years ago, I would have been one of those children and you would have never have heard my voice and seen my determination to become a part of the solution,” Rashford wrote.


The England government decided to extend the free school meal program through the summer but voted against extending free school meals on October 21, 2020. Their decision motivated Rashford to raise $556 million in donations to help provide meals for 1.7 million children in England. He partnered with FareShare, an organization in the United Kingdom that distributes food for people in need. He also contributed to helping FareShare to build a new warehouse in which he named after his mother, Melanie.

The Pat Tillman Award for Service honors individuals who are heavily involved in sports and serving others in the same light Pat Tillman once served. Pat Tillman is a former NFL player for the Arizona Cardinals who decided to end his football career to serve in the military after the terror attacks which took place on September 11. While he was serving in Afghanistan, he was killed in April 2004.

“Understanding Pat’s story, I couldn’t be prouder to be accepting this award today,” Rashford said.

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