Verlander surprises veterans with holiday gifts

The Detroit News

Justin Verlander’s Wins for Warriors Foundation this week provided an early holiday gift — a surprise trip to Disney World — to the families of three veterans.

The Tigers pitcher unveiled the gift Wednesday in a video message to veterans Justin Weis, Adam Gottis, Michael Roberts and their families following the 1000 Christmas Salutes event at the Grosse Pointe War Memorial.

“This year I wanted to do something extra special for three veteran families,” Verlander said in a statement from the foundation. “I want to thank each of you for serving our country and I wanted to make sure that your children enjoy an extra special Christmas present this year.”

Roseville Meijer also joined the effort, providing gifts for the children of the families.

“We know that veterans need time to re-charge and re-connect with their families — and we wanted to make sure they could do that without any of life’s day-to-day distractions,” said Sandy Hudson, the foundation’s executive director. “We truly hope they enjoy their time at Disney World and come back refreshed and ready for the year ahead.”

Justin Weis, standing, Adam Gottis, in the red jersey, and their were among the three families given trips to Disney World by Detroit Tigers Justin Verlander’s Wins for Warriors Foundation.

Launched in 2013 by Verlander, the foundation advocates for post-9/11 veterans and their families. The organization has supported veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq with mental health disorders, including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, traumatic brain injury and depression.

In its two years, the foundation has granted more than $650,000 to projects supporting the mental health and well-being of veterans.