Tag Archives: American Valor Podcast
Minor League Baseball player and Surface Warfare Officer Luke Gillingham shares his memories of playing baseball at the United States Naval Academy for Coach Paul Kostacopoulos, his recollection of being drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays, and the options the Navy presented to him as he fulfilled his commitment to serving his country through the Navy Reserve while having the opportunity to play professional baseball. Gillingham also shares his thoughts on playing professional baseball and baseball during the global health crisis of COVID-19.
Judge Michael Allen speaks about his path to serving as one of nine judges on the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, the youngest federal court, created in 1988. Appeals of all benefits administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs are heard by the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. Judge Allen speaks about the family members and teachers who mentored him and made a difference in his life. Hear his special stories of visiting the White House to interview for the seat on the bench before being confirmed by the Senate in August of 2017, when Chief Justice John Roberts swore him in and the unique impact a lawyer had in his parents’ lives. Judge Allen explains that the goal of a judge is much like that of a baseball umpire: to get it right.
Retired Fleet Master Chief Scott Benning speaks about the opportunities presented by the military for individuals to improve themselves while serving one’s country and receiving an education. It is vital to our country that the military is on the leading edge of technology and human capital development. Chief Benning speaks about the sacrifices people make in life and the meaning of a purpose driven life, including setting goals and overcoming setbacks. The more one puts into something, the more one receives from their efforts. You get in life what you give in life. Scott speaks about learning from our mistakes and passing that information on to the future generation. His book Power of Positive Leadership “challenges you to focus on your personal attitude, focus, and the importance of growing yourself so you can grow others to strengthen your team and grow a positive attitude” (pop-leadership.com). ICE leadership includes three steps: inspire, challenge, and empower.
Retired Navy Chief Petty Officer Terry Spain speaks about his leadership philosophy, lessons learned in his life from family and military service, what it means to be a Chief Petty Officer in the world’s finest Navy, and writing his new book, Just Lead!
“Terry Spain is an author and CEO of Terry Spain Consulting LLC, which specializes in diversity and leadership training along with motivational speaking and team building. Before retiring from the U.S Navy, Terry served as an Instructor for the Senior Leadership Development Branch at the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI). He has trained members of the Federal Government, the White House, Camp David, and the Naval Academy.
As a pillar in the community, he is an active member of the NAACP Central Brevard Branch and serves as the Veterans committee Chairman. Terry is also a member of the Brevard County Chamber of Commerce (Military Affairs Council) and serves as an advisor for the Bob Feller Act of Valor Foundation.
Mr. Spain received his Bachelor’s degree from Thomas Edison state university in Trenton, NJ, and his Certificate of Mastery in Diversity & Inclusion from The Institute for Federal Leadership in Diversity & Inclusion (Georgetown University). He has served over 21 years in the U.S. Navy and attained the rank of Chief Petty Officer. Terry was assigned to various ships and bases around the world, which allowed him to gain in-depth life experiences relating to diversity and leadership.
In 2014, Terry was awarded The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Roy Wilkins Renown Service Award” (from TerrySpainconsulting.com).
Mr. Buster Olney shares his upbringing around the game of baseball, his career as a sports columnist covering the game, Hall of Fame voting and personal memories and stories from baseball legends Tony Gwynn and Jerry Coleman, including Gwynn’s gregarious personality and Coleman’s humility towards his service and respect for his comrades who did not return home from war.
Jerry Coleman: Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel Jerry Coleman is the only Major League Baseball player to serve in combat in two wars, flying 57 combat missions in the SBD Dauntless Dive Bomber during World War II and 63 close air support and interdiction strike missions earning six more Air Medals during the Korean War. Lieutenant Colonel Coleman was selected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame as the Ford C. Frick Award recipient as an announcer in 2005 (Bob Feller Foundation).
Buster Olney: “Robert “Buster” Olney is a senior writer for ESPN.com and reporter for ESPN’s exclusive Sunday Night Baseball telecasts. He joined ESPN in June 2003 to cover baseball for all ESPN entities, including ESPN Radio, ESPNEWS and SportsCenter. He writes a daily column for ESPN.com and hosts the popular Baseball Tonight podcast as well as appearing on ESPN’s baseball studio show by the same name.
Olney’s two favorite events he has covered for ESPN are the 2014 and 2016 postseasons. “Particularly,” he said, “the historic performances of Madison Bumgarner.”
Olney began covering baseball in 1989 as the Nashville Banner’s beat reporter for the Triple-A Nashville Sounds. He later covered the San Diego Padres for the San Diego Union-Tribune (1993 – 1994) and the Baltimore Orioles (Baltimore Sun, 1995 – 1996). He arrived at ESPN after six years at the New York Times covering the Mets (1997) and the Yankees (1998 – 2001)” (ESPN Press Room).
Mr. Ed Randall speaks about his love of baseball while growing up, leading him to broadcast, report, and anchor professionally. He speaks about the challenges of reaching Major League Baseball, being grateful for his experiences and respecting the past. Mr. Randall shares his memory of making it to the Major Leagues when he filled in for Bob Shepherd, the legendary public address announcer at Yankee Stadium. Mr. Randall speaks about his close relationship with Baseball Hall of Famer Ernie Harwell and shares stories of National Baseball Hall of Famer and World War II and Korean War veteran Mr. Ted Williams. Hear about how Ed’s battle with prostate cancer has led him to help men understand that there is a 99% cure rate when cancer is detected early through testing.
“Ed Randall is the Founder and CEO of Fans for the Cure, a 501(c)(3) charity he started in 2003 to promote prostate cancer awareness, provide free PSA screenings, and focus on the importance of early detection in achieving best outcomes.
Since the start of the charity’s annual Baseball Road Trip in 2009, Fans for the Cure has conducted nearly 1,500 prostate cancer awareness days/nights at MLB and Minor League ballparks around the country. In cooperation with the teams’ healthcare partners and the charity’s network of physicians and hospitals, Fans for the Cure has provided over 5,000 PSA screenings as part of this program.
In addition to his work with Fans for the Cure, Ed just began his forty-sixth season in baseball broadcasting, hosting Remember When with Rico Petrocelli on Sirius XM as well as Ed Randall’s Talking Baseball on New York’s WFANThe author of three books about baseball, Ed’s most recent release is Baseball for the Utterly Confused, published by McGraw-Hill. His most notable collaboration was conducting the interviews with celebrity golfers and well-known PGA players that provided the content for The Best Golf Advice I Ever Received by Donald J. Trump. (Crown, 2005)
A graduate of Fordham University, Ed is a member of the school’s College Alumni Board as well as an inductee in the All Hallows High School Hall of Fame. Ed and his wife Louisa reside in Westchester County, New York” (Fansforthecure.org).
“Baseball saw some of its biggest transformations in the 1940s and 50s. The introduction of night games, television, racial desegregation, and prevalence of jet travel all had a profound impact on how the game was forever played, observed, and experienced. Through these unprecedented times stood Carl Erskine, famed pitcher of the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers, and a witness to history.
Upon high school graduation in 1945, Erskine’s aspiration to play baseball came to a halt. With World War II in full swing, he was drafted into the U.S. Navy. A year later, Erskine introduced himself to the Navy recreation officer where he was stationed, and asked if he could play baseball. Already full of pitchers, he was turned away, but soon found consolation a few weeks later when scouted by the Dodgers and discharged from the Navy. Erskine spent the next year and a half in the minor leagues, at the time of widespread historical change in baseball.
While playing in 1947, baseball legend Jackie Robinson came on board the Brooklyn Dodgers as the first African American player in Major League history. After pitching in a challenging game in the spring of 1948, Robinson, who had watched Erskine pitch that game, befriended him and said, “You’re going to be with us real soon.” Truly inspired and with a great sense of optimism, Robinson’s prediction came true. Later that year, Erskine joined the Brooklyn Dodgers.
In the late ‘40s, television was beginning to permeate American society and millions of people started to see baseball in a new way. No longer restricted to archaic radio waves, the heroes of the sport now had faces to go along with their larger-than-life reputations–another milestone that would eternally change the nature of games.
Throughout the 1950s, air travel changed the way people moved across the country. With West Coast cities experiencing dramatic population increases, the major leagues started to expand. In 1957, the Dodgers left Brooklyn, New York and headed to California to become the Los Angeles Dodgers. Erskine, who did not like being away from his family, decided that relocating was not for him. He lasted only a year and a half and pitched his last game on June 4, 1959. His career spanned 12 seasons and accumulated 122 wins (.61).
After retiring from baseball, Erskine returned to his native Indiana and started his own insurance business in 1960. For 12 years, he coached the Anderson University Raven baseball program winning four championship games. While in the insurance business, he sharpened his business acumen and landed a job at Star Financial Bank serving as its president and director from 1982-1993. Erskine has also given his time and talents to many organizations, sitting on the board of trustees of Anderson University, St. John’s Medical Center, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and numerous other state and civic institutions.
Erskine was inducted into the Indiana National Baseball Hall of fame in 1979. In 2001, he wrote his first book, Tales from the Dodger Dugout, a collection of heartwarming stories recounting his days in the major leagues. Four years later, he penned his memoir, What I Learned from Jackie Robinson, sharing his memories of Jackie’s battle for racial equality and their enduring friendship that taught him important lessons about life.
The unique perspective of Erskine during baseball’s transformative years is a good reminder that change is something not to fear, but embraced with an open mind and heart (from CarlErskine.com).”
We were very fortunate to feature Mrs. Anne Feller, the widow of Mr. Bob Feller, on the American Valor Podcast. Mrs. Feller shares incredible stories of Mr. Feller’s recollection of his experiences in World War II and pride in his country, sharing insight into what made individuals like Mr. Feller and World War II and Korean War veteran Mr. Ted Williams so special.
Afterwards, hear about the upcoming baseball season.
On the American Valor Podcast, Sports Journalist Lindsay Berra spoke about her career decision and experience covering sports at the highest levels. She talks about lessons learned from her grandfather Yogi, one of the greatest baseball catchers of all time: humility, integrity, citizenship, treating all people equally, and many more. One special story includes Yogi’s reflection on his military service during World War II after watching the movie Band of Brothers. Mr. Berra did not frequently speak about his time in the military. Lindsay shares with listeners the wisdom of Yogi-isms, the educational components of the Yogi Berra museum, and how sports like baseball help to build communities.
“Lindsay Berra is a freelance sports journalist based in Montclair, NJ. At MLB.com from January 2013 through January 2018, she established herself as an authority on baseball fitness and injuries and appeared frequently on MLB Network to discuss her stories. From 1999 through 2012, she was a senior writer for ESPN Magazine, covering primarily ice hockey, tennis, baseball and the Olympics. Lindsay received her undergraduate degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she played varsity softball and men’s club ice hockey. She is the oldest grandchild of Yogi and Carmen Berra and is a board member at the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center in Little Falls, NJ” (lindsayberra.com).
American Values, Leadership, and the Power of the Individual: 75th Secretary of the Navy the Honorable Ray Mabus
On the twentieth episode of the American Valor Podcast, we are honored to be joined by the 75th Secretary of the Navy: the Honorable Ray Mabus. “Mr. Mabus served as the 75th United States Secretary of the Navy, the longest to serve as leader of the Navy and Marine Corps since World War I. Throughout his tenure, Secretary Mabus has focused on four key priorities – People, Platforms, Power and Partnerships – that enable the Navy and Marine Corps’ unique ability to maintain the global presence that reassures our allies and deters our adversaries.
Before his appointment by President Obama, Mabus held a variety of leadership positions. From 1988 to 1992, Mabus served as Governor of Mississippi, the youngest elected to that office in more than 150 years. Mabus was Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from 1994-1996 and later was Chairman and CEO of a manufacturing company which he led out of bankruptcy.
Mabus has been recognized for his leadership of the Navy and Marine Corps on multiple occasions. In 2013, he was named one of the top 50 highest rated CEOs by Glassdoor, an online jobs and career community. Mabus was the only person in government to receive this award.
Secretary Mabus is a native of Ackerman, Mississippi, and received a Bachelor’s Degree, summa cum laude, from the University of Mississippi, a Master’s Degree from Johns Hopkins University, and a Law Degree, magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School. After Johns Hopkins, Mabus served in the Navy as an officer aboard the cruiser USS Little Rock” (defense.gov).
Mabus encourages listeners to believe you can do whatever you put your mind to. He describes being in the United States Navy as one of the defining experiences of his life, teaching Mr. Mabus what it means to be part of a team.
Mr. Mabus preaches the importance of being honest. He states that Americans must stand for equality, democracy, openness, and freedom of expression across the world. Our strength as a nation lies in our values and what we have stood for since 1776.
Ray Mabus’ three traits of a leader:
- Know what you are willing to lose.
- Set an example for others to follow.
- Be very clear. Know why you are doing what you are doing.