Nebraska and San Diego shared the 2018 Operation Hat Trick Excellence in Service Award
Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

NU Wins Operation Hat Trick Excellence in Service Award

By NU Athletic Communications

Operation Hat Trick recently announced the winners of its 2018 Excellence in Service awards, recognizing outstanding efforts by colleges and universities in aiding the recovery of wounded U.S. combat service members and veterans. The winners of this year’s Excellence demonstrated their commitment to supporting veterans by generating significant sales of branded merchandise and promoting Operation Hat Trick on campus, at retail, in their communities and through their social media, advertising and marketing campaigns.

The University of Nebraska was one of five finalists for the award, joining San Diego, Minnesota, Clemson and Utah State. Nebraska and San Diego were selected as co-winners of the 2018 award. Monetary prizes received from OHT are donated to local veteran-focused organizations chosen by each school.

Nebraska's choosen organization is Heroes Into Homes, a non-profit charitable organization focused on lifting our military veterans to a new level. They provide direction, purpose, basic needs and resources to further their future and improve their quality of life. More information can be found here -

Nebraska's fund raising efforts kicked off July 4 on Facebook and Twitter, yielding consumer generated storytelling video of veteran and military families. This content was curated on, across social channels and played in-stadium.  The campaign engaged military families and veterans who were recognized at Nebraska football games and presented with OHT gear. Nearly one million total social media impressions were generated and Nebraska/OHT branded merchandise experienced 150% sales growth year-over-year.

“The University of Nebraska is honored to be part of the Operation Hat Trick family. We understand the sacrifices the military makes on a daily basis to keep us safe and free. So we join OHT in making a difference in the lives of wounded and recovering service members and veterans. We’re proud to help fill some critical gaps in care,” said Lonna Henrichs, who is the Director of Licensing and Branding for the Nebraska Athletic Department.

Operation Hat Trick donates a portion of each sale of OHT branded hats and merchandise to select organizations that support the recovery of wounded service members and veterans. Since 2014, OHT has given out nearly $900,000 to programs that meet its mission and is on track to reach an aggregate $1,000,000 by Dec of this year. Over 1.5 million consumers have made an OHT “purchase with a purpose.”

OHT generates awareness, support and funding for the recovery of America’s wounded service members and veterans. The 501c3 pursues these goals through the sale of OHT branded merchandise, proceeds of which are distributed to select organizations supporting its mission.

The non-profit organization has partnered with hundreds of sports teams, including more than 350 universities and colleges, 130 high schools, 21 National Hockey League teams, 15 NBA teams, 165 high schools, more than 70 Minor League Baseball teams, and over 80 companies.

OHT products are sold through over 900 retailers and an estimated 5,000 retail doors, including Target, Dick’s, Lids, Hibbett and Modell’s.  The organization is dedicated to Nate Hardy and Mike Koch, two Navy SEALs who trained, fought and died together in Iraq in 2008.  For more information, to make a donation online or to purchase OHT apparel and merchandise, visit 47 Brand ( and The Collegiate Licensing Company (


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