02/22/2017 at 1:01pmPART 1 of 3: An Intergenerational Day with An Admiral, A SEAL and an Angel
Yountville-Residents of the Veterans Home of Yountville, California received a bit of surprise last Friday- three very special visitors from Washington DC and Virginia Beach.
Ret. Admiral James Winnefeld, former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Mrs. Mary Winnefeld together with human performance expert Alex, owner of Virginia High Performance paid a visit to the veterans home while visiting the Tug McGraw Foundation (TMF) for their Walking With Leaders Discussions.
Jennifer Brusstar, CEO of TMF, said: “One of our greatest strengths as a charity is our ability to connect people and share resources. These individuals are incredible avocates for military healthcare providing an intergenerational experience for the home, staff and community that shares their knowledge is in Tug's words, a homerun.”
Photo: Admiral Winnefeld, Mary Winnefeld met by Home vet and TMF Mixed Nutt player, John Lew.
The day started bright and early at 0730 with a community Intergenerational Breakfast Talk at the Home's main dining room with leadership from the community and the Napa Valley College Baseball Team (NVCB). Upon arrival, Yountville's, Mayor John Dunbar, the Home's director, Don Veverka, Home resident and TMF’s Mixed Nutts player John Lew greeted the special guests. Photo: Jim Treadway and Bob Hurley
Throughout breakfast, the Winnefelds, the baseball players, and Alex rotated tables visiting with senior veterans and the dining room staff. One very special moment was when Jennifer was pulled aside from a home member and in a very shy voice whispered, " Do you think the Admiral would say hello to me? I'm a WW II vet." She smiled and said, "That's what he's here for…to see you!"
The Admiral immediately came over pulled him aside and a very special conversation was had. Photo: Admiral and WW II Residents and below the Vet that asked to say hello!
Tug McGraw's teammate from the Phillies and Baseball Coach for NVCB, Warren Brusstar, said: "Having the opportunity for our team to have breakfast and engage in conversations with the vets gives them a deeper understanding in why we get to play baseball everyday, it’s because of their sacrifices.”
After breakfast and with excitement the baseball team, the vets, locals Jim Treadway, Bob Hurley and Tug's cousin Frank Henderson huddled together much like a sports team would to hear Alex speak. Not just an expert in enhancing physical and mental performance but a Navy SEAL who helped develop the Human Performance Program to increase physical, mental and sleep performance within Naval Special Warfare. After being with the Teams for 21 years, Alex has taken his expertise and continues to pay it forward with his "No Fail Mission" program. A program designed to help recovering vets get back in shape or get past any limitations they may have sustained in combat.
The Intergenerational Breakfast talks were doing exactly what TMF hoped it would. Be a social vehicle that offers younger and older generations the opportunities to interact and become engaged.
The chairs in the room drew closer and closer as Alex spoke about physical performance and the importance in having good character. Drawing them in one by one. Then the element of surprise happened, Alex turned the tables on the baseball team and threw out a dagger of a challenge to them. “I’ve toured this campus and there is a bowling alley here. I think you green horns need to come out and bowl with the vets here. Get to know them and share stories." Smiles broke out and instantly young voices, were saying, "yes, when can we start?" Photo: Alex and Lorelie Magalong, Food Service Supervisor
Mission accomplished, the baseball team is creating a league of their own, Alex's Green Horn Bowlers. First baseman, Kurtis Bluford and TMF are in conversations with the Home in developing an Intergenerational Bowling League that will meet 2x a month.
Photo: Back Row: Jim Treadway, Coach Parker, Admiral Winnefeld, Jack Brusstar, Alex, NVC College Team, Warren Brusstar, Frank Henderson
The Tug Mcgraw Foundation is helping to support Alex's program by providing travel for a veteran's family member or support person while he/she is attending his No Fail Mission Program. The vets support system plays an important role in continued recovery. Having a support member in attendance for the last week of the program helps bridge, strengthens, and reinforces the good work that has been accomplished and a foundation to carry it on.
Coming Up Next Week Part 2: The Admiral and the Angel
Tug McGraw Foundation's One Seat Today To Further Tomorrow Program: provides travel on American Airlines for healthcare providers and students to grab a seat at various conferences with leading experts addressing the most relevant, cutting edge, education and practices on brain-related trauma and tumors. Our goal is to maximize collaboration opportunities and to further education for Healthcare Providers, students and individuals engaged in sustaining and advancing evidence based treatments for civilians, veterans, military personal, and their families that are affected by brain-related trauma and or tumors.