The final hour of the Shootout for Soldiers Boston event added something to the motto “24 hours, 1 game, 1 goal.” This timeslot featured: 1 hour, 3 generations, 1 goal. There were three generations of Waldinger men on the field at once during the final hour; the event’s Father-Son game. Jamie Waldinger was acting as both a son and a father, as he played alongside his 70-year-old father and his 7-year-old son, Nate.
Jamie heard about the Shootout for Soldiers through Colonel Mike Sullivan, an organizer of the Boston event, as well as one of his teammates on an over-40 lacrosse team. When he learned there was going to be a Father-Son game this year, he registered himself, his son, and his father – who flew in from Florida to be a part of the event.
“While we often pass along our love for certain sports to our children, it is a fairly rare experience to be able to participate right alongside them,” Jamie said. “The chance to play lacrosse alongside your family while supporting such an honorable cause like SFS was an experience none of us will soon forget”.
The chance to give back to American veterans while playing with his family is something that made the event that much more special for Jamie, because he has had relatives serve in most of the major wars in American history. His uncle served two tours in Vietnam as a Marine platoon commander. That uncle’s father commanded PC1195, a submarine chaser, with the Navy’s Atlantic Fleet during WWII, and Jamie’s other grandfather was an Army Air Forces gunnery sergeant aboard a B-29 Superfortress over the Pacific.
Jamie and his father never fought in war, but both have military experience. “I spent just two years in the Navy, over 20 years ago during a rare moment of peace in our country’s history, after the Cold War ended and before the War on Terror began,” Jamie explained. “My dad drilled with the Army National Guard in the Vietnam era. Neither of us was deployed overseas or ever put in harm’s way, but during that time I developed a deep respect and admiration for the men and women who so readily leave their loved ones and the safety of home behind, and are willing to sacrifice so much to defend our freedom. Many of my shipmates continue to serve at home and abroad and thinking of them and their families makes the mission of SFS resonate strongly with me”.
Jamie says the three generations of Waldinger men will be back at the Shootout for Soldiers next year, as the cause is obviously one very important to him. “As a country, we get a great deal more from these men and women than we give in return,” he said. “We invest heavily in preparing our soldiers and sailors for war, but much less so in bringing them home. For the tens of thousands of our veterans who return from battle wounded, they deserve so much more. I am proud to have taken part in Shootout For Soldiers again and to have made just a small contribution to the great work that they do. I am very grateful for SFS and their efforts, as well as the opportunity to help”.