When Sheamus fulfilled his dream of becoming a top flight WWE superstar, little did he realize that one day he would be seated in the captain’s chair of the multi-million dollar USS George H.W. Bush aircraft carrier because of it.
“That’s something very few people in this world will ever do,” Sheamus said. “I never thought I would get an experience like that. It was an unbelievable experience that I’ll never forget.”
Sheamus along with many other WWE superstars, divas and associates spent a recent weekend visiting U.S. sailors based in the Norfolk and Hampton Roads area of Virginia during “WWE’s Tribute To The Troops,” a holiday tradition to thank U.S. service men and women for their commitment to the country and recognition of their sacrifices.
It marked the third time Sheamus participated in the worthwhile annual event.
“When I went to do my first Tribute To The Troops show in the United States in Dallas, Texas [at Fort Hood in 2010], I couldn’t believe it. I was blown away,” Sheamus said. “When I got to meet the military people up close and personal, I got to find out how much they sacrificed their lives to keep the country free. They’re away from their families for months on end. I was hooked right away. I just really knew how important this troops’ show was. Getting to meet the families, the kids, the wives and the husbands and getting to give back a little to them through autograph sessions, meet-n-greets and letting them know how important they are to this country.”
WWE joined forces with the USA Network, NBC and Slim Jim to honor them including meet-n-greets, dodgeball and volleyball with them and their kids, a WWE show and more.
“Previous years, the superstars went to meet the troops overseas, and that was great, but now we get a chance to meet the troops – the Marines, the Navy, the Air Force, the Army – in the [United States], and they can bring their families. So it’s a family affair for all the troops, and I think that’s even better now because they can share it with their loved ones.”
Naval Station Norfolk is the crown jewel of the United States Navy, and WWE also visited Naval Station Little Creek and Naval Station Oceana as the Norfolk and Hampton Roads area is home to 125,000 active duty members, 830,000 veterans and many military families.
WWE is not only supportive of the U.S. troops but also very active with Make-A-Wish Foundation, Be a STAR anti-bullying, WrestleMania Reading Challenge, Breast Cancer Awareness, Full-Sail University scholarship program and more.
“When I was on my way to WWE, I had various jobs to fund my dream [to become a WWE superstar],” the red-headed Irishman said. “That’s all I was thinking of, but when I came to America, I realized later there’s more to this business than the stuff in the ring.”
Born in Cabra, Ireland, Sheamus, 34, grew up playing Gaelic football and rugby. He earned a diploma from the National College of Ireland. He ventured to America in 2002, training in professional wrestling at the famous Monster Factory under the guidance of Larry Sharpe in Gloucester City, N.J.
Sheamus returned to Ireland, wrestling for the newly opened Irish Whip Wrestling, based in Dublin. He also wrestled the British indie circuit in Great Britain. In 2006, he inked a developmental deal with WWE, working for the company’s developmental group Florida Championship Wrestling. In 2009, he became a WWE superstar ... and philanthropist.