NASHVILLE – As a youngster growing up in Minnesota, Dillon Radunz always had the utmost respect for the military.
On Veterans Day, the significance hits home even more.
Radunz's stepfather, Scott Searcy, served in Desert Storm as a military mechanic for the Army.
"It means a lot," Radunz said. "Growing up with a stepfather like that, and just the respect that we have for him. As kids, we would always go to the Veterans Hospital, and we'd do the pancake breakfast and serve the veterans. It was a huge part of our lives growing up, and knowing he was a part of it. The discipline, and the respect we've always had for him, and that he bestowed upon us. It was a huge part of us growing up."
Radunz lost his father, Jeff, when he was just 12 years old.
A second-round draft pick of the Titans in 2021 who has played in 19 games in his first two NFL seasons, including three starts on the offensive line, Radunz said his stepfather played a big role in his life.
Radunz said his stepfather doesn't talk a lot about his experiences in the Army, but the impact it's made on his life is clear.
This weekend, the Titans will celebrate the NFL's Salute to Service weekend. It's part of the league's year-round effort to honor, empower and connect with our nation's service members, veterans and their families. Salute to Service is highlighted during games in Weeks 9-11 and in other special events around the league, as fans and the NFL's 32 clubs demonstrate their gratitude for the sacrifices made by our military community.
Radunz is among a number of Titans with military ties.
Receiver Racey McMath's dad, James, served in the Army. Safety Amani Hooker's cousin, Brandon Hooker, served in the Navy and linebacker David Long has two cousins who have either served or are in the military.
"He talked about his travels, where he was – he was in Germany and Saudi Arabia," Radunz said of stepfather. "After my dad passed away, (my stepfather) helped me with a lot of things. Learning those life tools from him was huge.
"Veterans Day, Memorial Day, anything that involved the military, we are always trying to support him through that. I've always had so much respect for those who serve or have served."