About Best Defense Foundation

Founded in 2018 by former NFL Linebacker, Donnie Edwards, the Best Defense Foundation honors and celebrates our veterans from past conflicts, including, WWII, Korea, Vietnam and those who have recently retired. The Foundation is run entirely by volunteers – people who are passionate about supporting military veterans and their families.  Team members hail from all parts of the U.S. and Europe, but are united by one simple goal: Taking Care of the Ones Who Took Care of Us.

What began as a simple conversation during a chance meeting with a WWII veteran has turned into Donnie’s life mission. Inspired by stories from his grandfather, a Pearl Harbor survivor, Donnie has worked tirelessly to take WWII veterans back to the battlefields where they served.

To date, the Foundation has taken over 100 WWII veterans on battlefield return programs to remember their fallen comrades and gain closure of a time in their life that had an impact on the world. Through our Battlefield Return programs, WWII veterans travel all over the world including to Normandy, the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Pearl Harbor, Iwo Jima, Guam, Saipan, and Tinian for commemorations.

In addition to the Battlefield Return Program, the Foundation created a Transition Program to help retired Special Forces operators return to civilian life and connect with the community around them.  Utilizing Donnie’s NFL network, we bring the professional athlete world together with special forces to help each other grow.

Finally, the last mission of the Best Defense Foundation is to educate future generations about the heroism and sacrifices of those who have served through the preservation of their stories. To date, we have interviewed over 200 WWII veterans with a video archive of more than 2000 hours of first hand accounts of the history that is taught today.  Our Education Initiative curates a curriculum from this media content and uses it to preserve the legacy of those who sacrificed for us.

The Best Defense Foundation strives to create personal relationships with veterans to ensure they know they will always be cared for and remembered. We invite you to join in our mission of “taking care of the ones who took care of us.”

“Thank you, Donnie… you’ve given me so much, this is the highlight of my life.”

—Harry “Pete” Shaw, 283rd Field Artillery Battalion
Upon his return to Normandy for the 75th anniversary with BDF (2019)

Donnie Edwards

Founder and Executive Director

Donnie is a retired NFL football player who has spent the last 22 years giving back to our military. He has done numerous USO tours, visited many military bases and accompanied hundreds of WWII veterans and Vietnam veterans back to their battlefields.

Donnie was the Los Angeles Chargers Salute to Service Award recipient in 2017. His dedication and support for our military is unwavering.

Donnie Edwards

Founder and Executive Director

Donnie is a retired NFL football player who has spent the last 22 years giving back to our military. He has done numerous USO tours, visited many military bases and accompanied hundreds of WWII veterans and Vietnam veterans back to their battlefields.

Donnie was the Los Angeles Chargers Salute to Service Award recipient in 2017. His dedication and support for our military is unwavering.