Foundation aims to provide officiating training & placement for returning servicemen & servicewomen
SACRAMENTO, CA – A project two years in the making, ‘Battlefields To Ballfields’ makes its debut today.
Founded by President and Executive Director Mike Pereira, the new foundation will provide scholarships to veterans of the United States Armed Forces who have selflessly served our country with an opportunity to get integrated back into their community through officiating.
“Many veterans find it difficult to successfully integrate into civilian life after they have completed their military service,” Pereira, currently the FOX Sports football rules analyst and a former NFL Vice President of Officiating, said. “We know there’s no greater sacrifice one can make than to serve one’s country.
“But what happens when they come home? What ‘Battlefields To Ballfields’ will offer is the financial backing, training and eventual placement necessary for our service men and women to pursue careers in athletic officiating.”
Pereira, a Stockton, CA native who officiated football at the youth, high school and collegiate levels prior to his time in the NFL, sees several parallels between military service and officiating.
“There is the common bond of serving on a team and creating order out of chaos,” he says. “Battlefields To Ballfields” will provide an opportunity to hone their newfound officiating skills, while calling on the leadership skills they developed through their military service that will give them a new sense of self-worth and also the ability to earn some extra income.
“While the ultimate goal will be to get some of our returning veterans into the upper levels of officiating, including the professional ranks, they will all start out at the local level, working high school and youth level games. This will help fill a void, because there is a shortage of officials at the local level. This foundation will put more officials and judges into the system in all sports.”
Assisting Pereira in the new endeavor is a talented Board of Directors whose expertise covers a wide array of professional fields:
*Roger Ruth, Secretary/Director – Longtime insurance executive and Vietnam veteran who served seven years on combined active and reserve duty.
*Sue Lukrich, CFO/Director – Former CFO of the Aubrey Group, a company that specializes in medical devices. Ms. Lukrich will oversee the foundation’s financial health.
*Jeff Fisher, Director – Fisher has served as head coach of the Houston Oilers, Tennessee Titans and St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams. As an active coach, he took a USO tour to Iraq and climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro with a group of wounded warriors. He will assist the foundation in forming relationships with military organizations.
*Mike Ubaldi, Director – Sacramento attorney-at-law. Ubaldi organized a community leadership group that developed baseball facilities for youths and adults with disabilities.
*Nate Boyer, Director – A Green Beret who served multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Boyer played college football at Texas and will work with the foundation in its veteran recruiting efforts. Last season, Boyer was in the Seattle Seahawks camp as a long snapper candidate.
*Barry Mano, Director – Founder and President of the National Association of Sports Officials [NASO].
*Pete Saco, Director – Oversaw high school districts and officiating associations for 21 years as California Interscholastic Federation Sacramento-San Joaquin Section Commissioner.
*Patrick Gadut, Director – Co-owner and COO of ProVet, with over 17 years of law enforcement experience, actively consults private and public business as a business anthropologist.
“Each of our board members brings a unique and needed skill set to this foundation,” Pereira says. “I look forward to the many new associations to be made through our collective efforts.”
Complete information on ‘Battlefields To Ballfields’ is available by visiting the foundation’s just-launched website https://www.battlefields2ballfields.org/
Kelly & Associates