Athletics-minded veterans seeking community involvement, or some extra cash, can receive a significant head start on the path to becoming a sports official thanks to a nonprofit recently started by a former top NFL referee.
Mike Pereira, who now analyzes NFL and college calls for Fox Sports, came up with the concept for Battlefields to Ballfields, he said, during a long drive as he pondered how close he came to becoming a service member himself: His Vietnam-era draft lottery number wasn’t chosen.
“But I started to think of those who did serve, and that sacrifice, and I started to wonder if there was something I could do to show my appreciation,” he told Military Times. “Not to help, just to show my appreciation. And then thinking about the shortage of officials, I thought, ‘Look at these returning servicemen. They have some of the qualities that we need in officiating.'”