The Los Angeles Dodgers gave a special welcome to UWUA Local 132 member Jason Whitlock at their July 4th game. Whitlock attended as a guest of Umps Care, a charity run by Major League Baseball umpires, and the Wounded Warrior Umpire Academy (WWUA), a program that trains military veterans to become umpires. Whitlock got to meet the game’s umpires and his service photo and story were broadcast on the stadium’s screens during the pre-game.
The experience was a homecoming for Whitlock: “My grandparents spent twenty years working in the vending area of Dodger Stadium.”
Whitlock works for SoCalGas, but served in the US Coast Guard from 1995 to 1997 as a machinery technician on the Tybee, stationed out of San Diego, followed by another two years conducting base logistics in Portsmith, VA.
Whitlock was accepted into the WWUA in 2021 and attended an all-expenses paid, 10-day camp in North Carolina. He now umps high school baseball. “I didn’t know anything about the organization until I applied. The guys that come out of it umpire at all levels, from Little League on up.” Interested veterans can even pursue professional umpire school through the program.
WWUA is run by retired Marine Corps Major Greg Wilson and his wife Melanie, who organize several charity celebrity tournaments every year to raise funds for the organization. Since graduating, Whitlock has been invited to represent WWUA at baseball, softball, and golf tournaments in Phoenix and elsewhere. WWUA partners with Umps Care to run programs with different MLB organizations and umpires.
WWUA’s programs and work are now a part of Whitlock’s life, and he’s committed to helping raise funds so other veterans can benefit. His presentation to Local 132’s executive board resulted in a $2,500 donation, and Whitlock personally contributes $100 a month, which SoCalGas matches. Whitlock encourages anyone interested in learning more to visit WWUA’s website: www.woundedwarriorua.org