UMPS CARE Charities, the official philanthropy of the Major League Baseball Umpires, honored 30 U.S. military veterans who are now baseball and softball umpires and their families – nearly 160 participants in all – at 17 MLB ballparks over the Fourth of July holiday.

UMPS CARE Charities has partnered with the Wounded Warrior Umpire Academy, an organization whose mission is to provide umpire instruction and a spirit of brotherhood that goes beyond baseball to those injured while serving our country.

Among the memories made for these veterans over the holiday weekend:

  • Collins Halstead, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps, delivered the Play Ball call before the Mets game in Citi Field.
  • Dan Schroeder, a Purple Heart recipient, was honored on the field before the Minnesota Twins game.
  • Joe Aylsworth enjoyed a surprise meet and greet with Hall of Famer Harold Baines at a Chicago White Sox game.
  • The Atlanta Braves invited four veterans and their guests – 18 participants in all – to enjoy batting practice on the field.
  • Jack Stanfield served as the honorary captain of the Cincinnati Reds

“It is our distinct honor for UMPS CARE to provide these deserving veterans – and baseball umpires – with the opportunity to see Major League Baseball games across the country over a special holiday weekend,” said UMPS CARE Charities President Gary Darling, a retired MLB Umpire. “Our MLB Umpires feel a deep connection with those who have served, and some have even served in the armed forces themselves. It means a great deal to our organization to have these special veterans take part in America’s pastime over the holiday.”

The veterans received goody bags, which include Hampton Farms peanuts, Big League Chew bubblegum, GIANTS Snacks sunflower seeds, Topps baseball cards and UMPS CARE swag. All of the participants at the WWUA recent camp in Pennsylvania in June received UMPS CARE baseball caps.

UMPS CARE wishes to thank the Atlanta Braves, Arizona Diamondbacks, Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Guardians, Cincinnati Reds, Detroit Tigers, Houston Astros, Los Angeles Dodgers, Milwaukee Brewers, Minnesota Twins, New York Mets, Oakland A’s and Washington Nationals for providing tickets to help make this event possible.

UMPS CARE also wants to thank our top sponsor of this fundraiser, Bowman Worldwide Logistics, and, which is selling limited-edition red, white and blue UMPS CARE ballcaps with 100 percent of the proceeds supporting this campaign.

To order a limited-edition UMPS CARE hat, click HERE

“We are honored to be recognized by UMPS CARE this Independence Day weekend,” said retired Major Greg Wilson (U.S. Marine Corps), president and co-founder of the Wounded Warrior Umpire Academy. “Our program gives veterans a renewed sense of purpose and belonging by getting them involved with baseball in their local communities.  It is fitting that the WWUA is recognized this particular weekend because in a sense, we help them to regain their independence in society after they have fought for our country to keep its independence.  In my opinion, there is no greater cause than honoring those who have protected our freedoms.”

“Without them, we might not be able to receive quality medical care, own small businesses or even watch a baseball game,” Wilson added. “Our servicemen and women are America’s most valued asset and we couldn’t be prouder to be working with UMPS CARE to recognize them this Independence Day.”

About UMPS CARE Charities: UMPS CARE Charities was founded in 2006 through the compassion of Major League Baseball (MLB) umpires. UMPS CARE provides financial, in-kind and emotional support for America’s youth and families in need. The UMPS CARE mission puts into action our established creed, “Helping People Is An Easy Call.” UMPS CARE Charities, a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization, provides VIP experiences for kids and families from various youth-based organizations, provides Build-A-Bear® Workshop experiences for children at hospitals across the United States and in Canada and provides college scholarships to children adopted later in life. In 2021, UMPS CARE launched its newest initiative, the Official Leadership Program, designed to teach social and emotional learning skills and umpiring mechanics to teens in underserved communities. For more information, click on

About Wounded Warrior Umpire Academy: Established in 2014, the Wounded Warrior Umpire Academy’s mission is to provide umpire instruction, training, placement and peer to peer support for military veterans interested in baseball.  In many cases, warriors have to medically retire from the service abruptly without any transition plans. We offer these warriors the opportunity to feel like they belong again, to be part of yet another organization in the service of others: our nation’s youth through the sport of baseball. WWUA, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization of veterans serving veterans, has served more than 120 wounded veterans from all services across the country. 

About Bowman Worldwide Logistics: Bowman Worldwide Logistics is a full-service global provider of logistics services. Our local delivery service, Above and Beyond Delivery specializes in shipping and delivery services in Arizona, New Mexico, California and Hawaii, custom-tailoring our solutions to your needs. Our freight forwarding division through XPO Global Forwarding, a division of XPO Logistics provides national and global services by truck, airplane, ship, or train. A key belief to our business is that only exceptional service will do – it is a philosophy that every employee lives and believes. For more information, visit