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Nov. 10, 2021

Kansas City Chiefs honor Sportsman during ‘Tribute to Troops’


A Northwest Missouri State University employee received a hero’s honor when the Kansas City Chiefs recognized him as part of their “Tribute to the Troops” program during the Nov. 7 home football game at Arrowhead Stadium.

The Chiefs honored Command Sergeant Major John Sportsman, who will retire in February after 42 years of service as a member of the Army National Guard. Accompanied at the game by his wife, son and daughter and their spouses, Sportsman was showered with applause as an announcer reported his military service and photos showed on the stadium’s video screen. He also received a commemorative football.

“It was very humbling experience,” he said. “It was awesome to be recognized liked that, and it makes you realize that people really appreciate what we do.”

Sportsman joined the military at age 17 and began his military tenure in communication, advancing his rank through three deployments. He served in San Antonio as part of Operation Noble Eagle from 2004 to 2005 and then, upon returning home, was promptly called to assist with Hurricane Katrina relief in August 2005. He was deployed to Kosovo in 2008.

Sportsman calls his family “the real heroes.”

“They’ve sacrificed a lot more than I have,” he said. “I had a mission to do, my time was taken, I knew what I was doing, I was taken care of. But they’re the ones back here, and I missed so many birthdays and holidays and anniversaries.”

In addition to his military service, Sportsman is in his 26th year as maintenance manager in Facility Services at Northwest. He plans to retire from the University next May.


Media contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704