Wounded Warrior Umpire Academy - Supporting Our Veterans On and Off the FieldJul 25th, 2019
Wounded Warriors Umpire Academy is bigger than umpiring. Their mission is to serve the Veterans of our great nation by teaching them a skill that can get them back into their communities and provide a renewed sense of comradery with their peers.
Ump-Attire.com has been a proud sponsor of WWUA for all 6 years of their operations. With the help of many of our gear and apparel suppliers, each new Warrior is outfitted with a full set of equipment and uniforms to start their umpire career.
THANK YOU to the following suppliers for their contributions to WWUA and our Veterans.
Boston Leather – Belts
Champro – Equipment Bags
Diamond – Masks
Force3 Pro Gear – Dry-Lo Ball Bags
Major League Baseball – Rule Books
New Balance – Plate and Base Shoes
Smitty Officials Apparel – Uniform Shirts and Pants
Wilson – Chest Protectors and Shin Guards
Ump-Attire.com – Gift Cards, Indicators and Plate Brushes
This year, I was fortunate to be in Charlotte, North Carolina for gear distribution and first few days of camp. I have always been proud of Ump-Attire.com’s involvement with WWUA, but did not fully grasp the importance until I saw it with my own eyes. Our gear contributions are greatly appreciated, but getting these Veterans back with a group of like-minded individuals and working towards a common goal is what this Academy is all about. Major Greg Wilson, his wife Melanie and their entire staff have a passion for umpiring, but have an excellent understanding of the true mission of WWUA.
Major Wilson shared with me a mindset from the Marine Corps and how that carries over to the Academy. “In the Marines, you are not a machine gunner. You are a Marine who happens to be a machine gunner. In the Marines, you are not “X”. You are a Marine who happens to be “X”. Relating to WWUA, these men and women are a Veterans who happen to be umpires. We use this 'thing' called baseball to bring veterans together and renew their sense of purpose and give them a connection network of veterans who 'get it' and who will listen if you are struggling. We are all brothers and sisters in arms and now adding the title 'brothers and sisters in blue'.”
2019 Class Highlights
The 6th WWUA class was made up of 24 Veterans (along with 3 service dogs) and a staff made up of umpires ranging in experience from Major League Baseball to past students who have just started their umpiring career.
Each year, two awards are presented to the students. The Motivator Award, voted on by the students, and the Honor Graduate, voted on by the instructors.
The Motivator Award goes to the student who is looked up to as inspiration to keep going. The one who pushes forward when the odds are stacked against them. The one, despite their aches and pains, gets up and works hard every day. Out of the 16 eligible students to receive this award, 11 were nominated by their peers. Almost 70% of the class was considered as having the qualities expected of the Motivator Award. While only one can receive the award, 10 others were heroes to their peers. That kind of student support is simply amazing. Congratulations to this years’ Motivator Award, Eric Murray.
The Honor Graduate Award is presented to the one student who best champions the WWUA message. This student didn't have to be the best umpire student, but needed to be someone who would be there for any member of WWUA no matter what the circumstances. It was a near unanimous decision to present Matt Currin with the exceptional honor. He is a fine American and an even more amazing human.
Motivator Eric Murry (R) and Honor Graduate Matt Currin (L)
The group worked 45 games in North Carolina at the conclusion of camp and will umpire tournaments in New Mexico and South Carolina this summer.
WWUA Umpires Bill Hart (L), Greg Wilson (C), Joe Aylsworth (R)
WWUA Umpire Working Youth Tournament in Farmington, NM
THANK YOU Wounded Warriors Umpire Academy for your service to our Country and everything you do for our great Veterans. Continue to ‘use this thing called baseball’ to reignite the spark in these courageous men and women.
- Sale of Umps Care Caps Raises $5,000 for WWUA
- Wounded Warrior Umpire Academy to Host 1st Annual Virtual Summit
- Wounded Warrior Umpire Academy Names President Jim Kirk to Board of Directors
- Smitty Making Cloth Masks - Buy One, Donate One Program
- Our Impact with International Umpires Continues to Grow
- WWUA Veteran Spotlight: Sergeant First Class Joe Aylsworth
- Suppliers Outfit the Largest-Ever Wounded Warriors Umpire Academy Represented For the First Time by All Military Branches
- Wounded Warriors Umpire Academy and Umpire Gear Suppliers Partner to Take Injured Service Members from the Battlefield to the Ballfield
About the Author
Pro School Umpire Graduate Josh Mann
A native of Chicago, Josh graduated from the University of Arizona with degrees in Economy & Industry and Sports Management. He attended the Minor League Baseball Umpire Training Academy and Harry Wendelstedt Umpire School, umpired in the Frontier Professional Baseball League, and worked in the Chicago Cubs Organization. Josh enjoys baseball, hockey, golf and spending time with his dog Wrigley. He spent 4 years as Ump-Attire.com’s marketing assistant and recently relocated to Arizona.