Updated: May 25, 2020 11:28 PM
Created: May 25, 2020 04:19 PM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — In honor of Memorial Day, we'd like to share the story about a program that helps veterans find work when they return home.
The program Battlefields 2 Ballfields provides veterans with the skills and resources to become sports officials in their local community and it's had a big impact in the Rochester area.
"I'm learning something new every time I come out on the field," Jamaison Pilgreen said.
A veteran who spent 20 years in the military, Pilgreen still works with the Army Reserve, but last fall he spent his third season officiating local football games.
"I'm so happy to be on the ground floor in the Rochester area of getting it going," Pilgreen said.
Pilgreen was able to learn how to be an official through the program Battlefields 2 Ballfields and says the camaraderie he feels as an official is the closest thing to the camaraderie that he felt with fellow soldiers in the military.
"Every crew that I worked with, when we hit the field there's a home team, a visitor's team and the best team, and that's us,” Pilgreen said. “the team camaraderie and atmosphere is so ingrained in how they operate. I enjoy it a lot more than I originally thought I would."
Over the past year he's recruited two more veterans to become refs through Battlefields 2 Ballfields and says he welcomes others who are looking for a purpose since returning from military service.
“If you want something that's going to remind you of being in the military, give you that team atmosphere, give back to the community, give back to the kids, come check it out," Pilgreen said.
During the winter, Pilgreen is a basketball referee, something he also learned through Battlefields2 Ballfields. If you're a veteran or know a veteran who would be interested in this program, more information can be found on the Battlefields 2 Ballfields website.
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