MEDFIELD, MASS. (WHDH) - Current and former Patriots players hit the courts for some pickleball Tuesday with members of the Massachusetts National Guard as part of the NFL’s Salute to Service initiative. 

Running year-round, the Salute to Service initiative honors veterans and active-duty service men and women and their families. 

Speaking on Tuesday, some event participants said rubbing elbows with gridiron greats was a dream come true. 

“I’ve been a very big fan for all of my life and my greatest memories are watching Patriots games with my brothers, so I definitely am enjoying this,” said Tech Sgt. Hannah Misiuk. 

Tuesday’s event happened at the Kingsbury Club in Medfield. Sixty service members took part.

As veterans, participants said it was deeply meaningful to see their community honored. 

“I’ve met a lot of veterans where they get out and things were not going good for them,” one person said. “So, the fact that they recognized us, it shows that they care. And I feel like that’s what’s needed.”

At the end of the day, Patriots players said the event was a great way to have some fun with people who deserve it.

“It’s pretty awesome,” said Patriots linebacker Jahlani Tavai. “It’s cool to get away from football and show some love to the people who are risking everything for us. So it’s great to see some smiles out here.”

Tuesday’s event came a matter of weeks before Gillette Stadium is scheduled to host the 2023 Army-Navy Game next month. 

This year’s game on Dec. 9 will be the first in the Army-Navy series’ 124-year history to be played in New England. 

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