Rocky Bleier (’68), a Notre Dame football national champion, four-time Super Bowl winner and decorated Vietnam War veteran, has been named the 2018 recipient of the Monogram Club’s Edward “Moose” Krause Distinguished Service Award. The award is the highest honor given by the Monogram Club.
The Moose Krause Distinguished Service Award is annually bestowed on a Monogram Club member who has achieved notoriety in the following areas:
• Exemplary performance in local, state or national government
• Outstanding dedication to the spirit and ideals of Notre Dame
• Demonstrated responsibility to and concern for their respective communities
• Extraordinary commitment and involvement with youth
Rocky BleierBleier’s story is incredible and inspiring. The running back from Appleton, Wisconsin, played in all 30 games during his Notre Dame career, accumulated over 1,200 yards from scrimmage, scored 14 touchdowns and earned three Monograms. He was an integral part of Notre Dame’s 1966 national championship team and served as a team captain as a senior in 1967.
Bleier graduated from Notre Dame in 1968 with a degree in business management and was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 16th round of the 1968 NFL Draft. He played one season with the Steelers before being drafted by the U.S. Army and sent to Vietnam where he was a foot soldier with the 196th Light Infantry Brigade stationed in Hiep Douc.
On August 20, 1969, Bleier’s platoon was ambushed and he was wounded in his left thigh. While he was down, a grenade sent several pieces of shrapnel into his right leg. His courageous service earned him the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star Medal.
Despite those serious injuries, which required extensive rehabilitation, he returned to the Steelers for training camp prior to the 1970 season. Bleier spent the ’70 and ’71 seasons on the Steelers’ injured reserve list. He primarily played on special teams during the ’72 and ’73 campaigns, before becoming a starting tailback in ’74 and helping the Steelers to the franchise’s first Super Bowl title. Bleier and the Steelers would go on to win three more Super Bowls over the course of the next five seasons.
Bleier retired from the NFL following the 1980 campaign. During his 11 seasons in the NFL, he produced 3,865 rushing yards 1,294 receiving yards and 25 touchdowns. At the time of his retirement, he was the Steelers’ fourth all-time leading rusher.
Bleier currently resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is the president of Rocky Bleier, Inc. and is a nationally-known speaker. He wrote a book titled Fighting Back: The Rocky Bleier Story that documented his struggle to recover from his war wounds.
Bleier is one of the owners and managing members of RBVetCo, a service-disabled, veteran-owned company that specializes in the construction of commercial buildings, additions and renovations. He is involved with numerous other organizations that support veterans, including the Veterans Leadership League, Legacies Alive and The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). Bleier is committed to additional service causes, including St. Barnabas Health, Habitat for Humanity, Special Olympics and United Way. In 2007, Bleier received the Distinguished American Award from the National Football Foundation.
The Monogram Club will present the Moose Krause Award to Bleier during Blue-Gold Weekend festivities in April. Past recipients of the Moose Krause Distinguished Service Award include Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C. (’39, honorary), Ara Parseghian (honorary), Rev. Edward A. “Monk” Malloy, C.S.C. (’63, ’67, ’69, basketball), Ruth Riley (’01, ’16, basketball), Justice Alan Page (’67, football) and Lt. Gen. Bryan Fenton (’87, manager).