Texans and USO Houston celebrate Salute to Service Week

The Houston Texans and USO Houston hosted members of the military at Ellington Field Monday as part of the kick off to Salute to Service Week.

Monday’s kick-off featured live music by the Josh Abbott Band, tacos from Gringo's Mexican Kitchen, games and photo opportunities for the kids.

More than 700 military members and their families were invited to join the fun.

Texans legends like Wade Smith and Travis Johnson were in attendance. The former players met with the men and women and thanked them for their service to our country.

“We look at them as heroes because they allow us to either play a game for a living or allow us to do whatever jobs or professions or whatever we want to live out. They allowed for that to happen because they're protecting us day in and day out,” said Wade Smith.

“We want to give back to the community, give back to the guys that give us so much freedom in everyday things. The fact that I was able to get up today, this morning, that's a salute to them, a salute to the things they do for us,” said Travis Johnson.

In return, the service members thanked the Texans-- former and current-- for always providing an escape when things got tough.

“We love our Texans. We love our Astros. It just gives us something else to think about, especially when we're overseas. Back home, these are our guys, playing for our town, and for us,” said Sr Master Sgt Sean Cowher at the Texas Army National Guard.  

At the core of both their training lie similar fundamental principles.

“Desire and discipline-- those are the things they teach you in the military and I think they teach you that playing the game. Be disciplined in everything that you do,” said Johnson.

On Thursday night, thousands of fans will pack into NRG to pay tribute to both. Cheering the Texans to victory against the Colts and saluting the 100 service members and their families who will receive special recognition before the game.

“They hold the flag. They get to be a part of the game, have that experience and have those seats right there with their family member,” said Loren Westerfield, USO Director of Houston.

The week will conclude with the Texans game at NRG on Thursday night against the Colts. The game kicks off at 7:20 p.m. CST on FOX 26.