Matthew talks with Greg Wilson, Major, USMC, Retired, who runs the Wounded Warrior Umpire Academy
Established in 2014, the Wounded Warrior Umpire Academy’s mission is to provide instruction, training, placement and peer to peer support for military veterans interested in baseball. Learn more about them at Wounded Warrior Umpire Academy.
This is truly a great organization and we have learned the power and effect it has on us as well as the individual student. At each camp we have held, at least one student has said this has “saved his life.” An average of 22 veterans commit suicide every day. I wish we had the capability to offer this camp to every veteran as we are very proud of our Academy and even more proud of the “the brotherhood.” – Greg Wilson
You can find WWUA inside Convene Umpires and Referees. This community will serve as a place for past attendees of the academy to stay in touch with each other.
If you know of a veteran that loves baseball and might be interested in this organization, please share this with them.
More about the Wounded Warrior Umpire Academy
Service members are disciplined, organized and polished while in the service of a greater organization governed by regulations and orders… it is a very easy transition to the baseball diamond.
We show how their already perfected talents can be applied to the profession of umpiring.
We also provide continued support and development in order for our graduates to gain the experience necessary to advance to higher levels of the game. The most important component of our program is the introduction into a new brotherhood which is not unlike that of the military culture. We are the “third team” on the field and have to look out for each other. That bond and camaraderie extends beyond the chalk lines of the diamond.
When one umpire meets another umpire, there is an immediate connection of something unique.
Much more so than two people who meet and happen to have played the game. Our veterans enjoy this camaraderie for years on Active or Reserve Duty. In civilian life, this may be hard to find again. Through peer to peer support, we create lasting connections and offer hope for a renewed sense of purpose and belonging again.
Who Can Participate?
Recovering Service Members (RSM) who are either active duty or veteran status.
We welcome any RSM who is struggling physically or mentally. Any form of disability rating from the VA would normally qualify a veteran. Active Duty personnel will need to disclose some basics of their injuries to qualify without violating HIPPA protections. We primarily serve post 9/11 veterans, but we have made some exceptions to pre-9/11 veterans in the past. We receive an overwhelming number of applications and have to prioritize the post 9/11 veterans with the highest disabilities first.
If you are not sure of your eligibility, please contact us as we truly review each case individually.
Our goal is to provide the entire camp experience free of charge to the qualified veteran.
If accepted, we will provide airfare, lodging, and a majority of the meals while attending camp. We rely heavily on sponsors to help fund these specific activities. Upon application, we will try to get you qualified with our sponsors. If you do not meet their criteria, we will evaluate your application for a full or partial scholarship from the WWUA. If we still are unable to provide funding, you may still receive an invitation from us, but the cost of the camp would be $1500 and transportation to and from the camp will be at your expense. We also make special exceptions to those staff members who directly serve wounded warriors at any of the active units.
After graduation, our staff will continue to work with you to integrate with your local community if you so desire. We offer additional events for our Alumni for peer to peer support and to continue building your umpiring experience. Once you are a member of the WWUA, you are a member for life with no dues. Participate as much or as little as you feel comfortable. There is no pressure or requirement to continue umpiring to remain part of our organization. We have had Alumni continue to be part of the program just for the peer to peer support, connections and team building.
Requirements for wheelchair lifts and ADA compliant vehicles will be provided if necessary.