Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Bucs GM Mark Dominik receives accolades for showing appreciation for the military

Tampa Bay Bucs general manager Mark Dominik spent the week at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., receiving congratulatory greetings from his colleagues.

Sure, some offered compliments because of the team's improvements this season and the success of the new players brought in by Dominik. But most offered praise because the NFL and USAA Insurance, the league's official military appreciation sponsor, named Dominik one of the two finalists for the 2012 Salute to Service Award.

Believe it or not, Dominik beamed more than he would have if they gave him accolades for drafting safety Mark Barron and running back Doug Martin.

When the Glazer family elevated Dominik to general manager in 2009, he and his wife, Amy, set a goal of wanting to create programs and efforts that supported the military. Since then, Dominik has spearheaded the $40,000 renovation of a retired Air Force sergeant's home, created a job fair to provide veterans with job placement assistance and help them transition to civilian life, and invited wounded warriors to attend the team's annual nighttime practice during training camp.

The Bucs also host a Salute to Service Suite at every home game, and Dominik invites 24 military members to enjoy front-row seating in his special section, Dominik's Den.

On Saturday, Dominik will learn if he wins at the NFL Honors awards special, which will be televised on CBS.

Dominik spoke to Times columnist Ernest Hooper about the motivation behind his efforts and how they're just a larger part of the organization's commitment to saluting the men, women and families involved in military life.

Of the many efforts you've made to support the military, what's been one of the most memorable?

One that's most memorable is when we do the night practice in the preseason at the stadium. We have patients from the Haley VA Hospital come to the practice, some are active and some are in the reserves. They've suffered brain trauma, there are burn victims and some who have lost limbs because of explosive devices. We bring about 15 to 20 people to that practice and we also recognize the nurses and doctors who help the veterans. To know that (up to) 20,000 people can see how these vets are growing and rehabbing and that Haley is making their lives better is really rewarding.

I know you have family members who were in the military. How much does that influence your efforts?

My grandfather served in World War I. I have his discharge papers and he received $118 and a note saying thanks for your service. It's neat. I guess that might have been a lot of money back then. My brother and father served in the Navy. So growing up, we were all passionate about the service. And my wife, Amy, grew up an Army brat. Her father was in the Army for 20 years and after that he served in the Army Corps of Engineers.

In the course of this conversation, you've already mentioned your wife, Amy, three or four times. She's also a big part of this, isn't she?

Because she grew up in a military family, she understands it. She's come to a lot of the events. Part of this is wanting to show our children what we should be doing. We want to find a way to help raise their awareness.

I know you've also staged a number of reunions where spouses returning from a deployment surprise their families. Tell me about the emotion you feel when you see one of those reunions.

I think wives and husbands might be starting to catch on to us. But the first one a couple of years ago, she didn't think her husband would be back home for another month. She thought we brought her and the family just to see a video message. Sure enough, he comes running down the steps and her face just exploded. He was just crying and just trying to get to his family. That's an emotional moment for everyone in the stadium. Whenever you have a platform for uplifting the men and women in the military and a chance to raise awareness of the sacrifices the men and women back home make, you should use it.

How did you feel when you saw the commercial touting you as one of the finalists?

It was great. The timing was a little surprising, playing it when they played it, but I've received a lot of email and texts. To walk around and hear some of the statements and compliments from the military people in our community, it's been really great. They feel like Tampa Bay has made them proud, and that's what we're trying to do — raise the awareness of the entire community.

Supporting the military means a lot to you, but really, your efforts are just a reflection of the community. Tampa Bay really cares about the military, doesn't it?

We did the Salute to Service Suite. Every game we put men and women of the military in a suite to salute them during the game. Every week, we play a song and everybody in the stadium stands and gives them a big round of applause. Tampa Bay gets it. It's one of the great moments in our games. Everyone stands up and shows that they're standing behind these men and women.

Sunday Conversation is edited for brevity and clarity.

Bucs GM Mark Dominik receives accolades for showing appreciation for the military 01/26/13 [Last modified: Friday, January 25, 2013 6:22pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Joe Maddon gets warm reception in return to the Trop

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The night was arranged to honor former Rays manager Joe Maddon in his first visit back to the Trop, and the standing ovation from the bipartisan crowd and scoreboard video tribute seemed proper acknowledgments of his hefty role in the Rays' success during his nine-year stint.

    Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon (70) talks with reporters during a press conference before the start of the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017.
  2. Rays vs. Cubs, 7:10 p.m. Wednesday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Cubs

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM; 680-AM (Spanish)

    Tampa Bay Rays' Blake Snell poses for a picture during the team's photo day at baseball spring training in Port Charlotte, Fla., Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
  3. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Tuesday's Rays-Cubs game

    The Heater

    Chris Archer's night ended with his 11th loss, but he and the Rays should feel good about his six solid innings. After the forearm tightness scare in Chicago, he had two rough outings (15 hits, 11 runs, seven innings), so Tuesday was a reassuring rebound.

  4. At 6-8, Lightning prospect Oleg Sosunov comes with, and needs, a high ceiling

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — When Hall of Famer Phil Esposito first saw Lightning prospect Oleg Sosunov, he joked that the 6-foot-8 defenseman could reach the Amalie Arena ceiling.

    Lightning 6-foot-8 defenseman Oleg Sosunov competes in the preseason opener. Phil Esposito jokes that Sosunov can reach the ceiling at Amalie Arena.
  5. Jones: Rays' Kevin Cash doesn't mind following in Joe Maddon's steps

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — On this particular night, he's the other guy. He's like a talk-show guest scooted to the end of the couch. He is Kevin Cash. And the Rays manager is standing in the home dugout at Tropicana Field.

    ST. PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 17: Manager Kevin Cash (L) of the Tampa Bay Rays reacts to action during the game against the Boston Red Sox at Tropicana Field on September 17, 2017 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Joseph Garnett Jr./Getty Images) 700012494