Nov 14, 2016
Seattle Saracens Launch Vets Programme
Located between Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard bases, Seattle Saracens are now looking to build their relationships with the military and help provide new opportunities through sports for veterans.
“When I left the military, one of the biggest things I missed was the camaraderie and brotherhood” says Tim Brogdon, a navy veteran and Seattle Saracens player. “Rugby has been the only place I have found that. I felt lost after leaving the service but now that I’m a player, helping behind the scenes for the Seattle Saracens, I’m right back being part of a team and family. I believe that whether it is being a player, manager or supporter, we can provide vets with the opportunity to be part of something bigger than just ourselves and that we were part of once before. We can provide that brotherhood again.”
Seattle Saracens are committed to helping provide opportunities and positive experiences for veterans, believing in the enormous contribution that those who have served in the armed forces can give to the club and the positive environment the club can provide for veterans returning to civilian life in return.
Currently Seattle Saracens have a number of players and managers involved with the club with backgrounds in the military. Indeed, rugby shares many of the core values that the military promotes such as respect, hard work, team work and responsibility.
These same values form the core of Seattle Saracens rugby club and of the international rugby community. At Seattle they believe that veterans can help promote those values within club programs and partnership programs, to new rugby players coming through to help them on the rugby field and in their day to day life.
Seattle Saracens’ goal is to create a programme that can be an example to other rugby clubs and sporting organizations around the country to help promote and see the value of having veterans involved in their sports programs.
What will the programme do?
- Potential help with employment. Through contacts in the Seattle Saracens organisation and partner organisations there are opportunities for employment with employers who share the values we do.
- Provide a positive and productive environment for veterans to be productive and be part of a team and growing family.
- Provide a place for veterans to either play for, manage or help administer the Seattle Saracens rugby club or a partner rugby club.
- One of the Seattle Saracens partner clubs is the Seattle Slam Wheelchair rugby organization and Seattle hope to be able to also provide avenues for injured veterans to be involved in sports also
- Provide an environment to build this program with the help of veterans and be an example for other sports teams to follow.
How Seattle Plan To Grow The Programme?
- Build closer relationships with the local military bases and promote this program and get active duty personnel involved with our rugby programme.
- Promote rugby as a tool to assist re-entry into civilian life to such programmes as the Wounded Warrior program, American legion and other veteran organizations.
- Build closer links and provide information to the VA Medical Center, their CBOC’s, Wounded Warrior Program, American Legion and other veteran service organizations (VSOs), provide information for them to disseminate.
- Along with the Seattle Slam Wheelchair rugby team promote opportunities for sports and team management for injured veterans
- Promote the program through our relationship with our partner clubs.
- Have regular special veteran events that promote this program.
“What does rugby mean to me as a vet? Often, when a service member separates from their service, they struggle to find purpose or direction. I know I certainly did. Playing rugby fills a number of voids left in a veteran’s life in the wake of leaving the military. Perhaps the first and foremost is the feeling of camaraderie. In the military the people in your unit are your family. They are your brothers and your sisters. You sweat for them, bleed for them, and would die for them. Playing rugby fills that void of wanting to belong to something, the desire of fraternity and the comfort of belonging and acceptance. You have the backs of your teammates and they have yours. The providing of purpose is another. In the military you strive for a purpose greater than any one individual. Rugby is no different as we toil for the betterment of ourselves, our teammates and our communities. In rugby we are also constantly striving towards a goal as we did in military. We leave everything on the pitch, keeping our hard bodies, determined minds and competitive spirits honed and sharp as we collectively strive towards the common goal of the team.” - Ben Gustafson, Army veteran and Seattle Saracens player.