MLB and PEOPLE magazine announce 30 "All-Stars Among Us" after 1.7 million votes are cast06/28/2010 10:19 AM ET
Betty Chinn grew up homeless in China but for the past 20 years has helped feed the hungry and needy of Eureka, California... Albert Lexie has earned $150,000 in tips shining shoes since 1981 - and he's donated every cent of it to the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh... Casey Davis took it upon himself to create a much-needed website providing health education videos for the deaf... Alma Martinez serves the needs of low-income HIV-positive Los Angeles residents, going so far as to personally ensure that no one dies alone...
These are just four of the 30 winners of the Major League Baseball and PEOPLE magazine "All-Stars Among Us" campaign, which debuted in 2009 and recognizes individuals who are serving their communities in extraordinary ways (see attached pages for photos and stories of all 30 winners). The 30 "All-Stars Among Us," one representing each MLB Club, will attend and be honored during the pre-game ceremony of the All-Star Game on July 13 on FOX beginning at 5:00 p.m. PT (8:00 p.m. ET). In addition, one of the winners will be featured in the July 19th issue of PEOPLE, which hits newsstands during the week of the All-Star Game, the premier sporting event of the summer.
Fans across the nation cast 1.7 million votes - more than double the amount of votes from the previous year - at PeopleAllStars.com to select the 30 "All-Stars Among Us" winners out of the pool of 90 finalists who are serving as leaders within their communities.
"Major League Baseball is privileged to recognize this team of 'All-Stars' whose selfless and tireless work is making a significant impact within communities across the nation," said Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig. "Together with PEOPLE magazine, we look forward to using the All-Star Game, the premiere sporting event of the summer, as a platform to honor to these 30 winners and their worthy causes."
"For the last 36 years, PEOPLE magazine has celebrated everyday 'heroes' whose acts of courage, commitment, strength, and compassion are changing the lives of others," said PEOPLE Managing Editor Larry Hackett. "These stories of ordinary individuals - who dedicate their lives to making their communities a better place - continue to inspire our more than 45 million readers." Time Inc. Style & Entertainment Group President Paul Caine adds: "We are delighted to partner with MLB for a second year to honor these 30 'All-Stars Among Us,' and to provide these local 'heroes' with the national recognition they so richly deserve."
The 81st Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and Sportsnet HD and Le Reseau des Sports, and around the world by Major League Baseball International, with pregame ceremonies beginning at 8:00 p.m. (EDT)/5:00 p.m. (PDT). ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio coverage. MLB Network, MLB.com and Sirius XM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Game coverage.
Arizona Diamondbacks - Michael Young - Scottsdale, AZ
At age 12, Michael Young began a charity golf event that has, over the last five years, raised over $250,000 to fund the Animal Assisted Therapy Program at Phoenix Children's Hospital. The Swing Fore Kids Golf Classic has become the program's major fundraiser. His tournament has impacted thousands of sick children who need certified therapy dogs to help them recover physically and emotionally.
Atlanta Braves - Bruce Deel - Tyrone, GA
Bruce Deel founded City of Refuge, a non-profit that provides programs and services to individuals and families in Atlanta who are in need. In 13 years, it has grown to serve over 10,000 people annually. City of Refuge offerings range from food, clothing and shelter to job training and placement, housing, healthcare and education.
Baltimore Orioles - Casey Davis - Westminster, MD
Until 2008, no Internet resource existed to explain a wide variety of health-related topics in American Sign Language for the deaf community. After five years of self-funded design and development, Casey Davis finally launched www.DeafMD.org, which provides health education videos for the deaf in their preferred language. Now, more than 90 percent of surveyed visitors report they know more about their health because of DeafMD.
Boston Red Sox - Lenny Moitoso - Fairfield, CT
Seventh grade teacher Lenny Moitoso of Fairfield, CT, co-founded Ludlowe Corps, which sends local students to developing countries to participate in health, education, and environmental projects. The organization has raised over $100,000 for projects like distributing mosquito
nets, starting a new elementary school in Senegal, and helping with flood relief in Ecuador. So far, approximately 1,500 middle school students have helped raise funds, and nearly 50 students have traveled to Senegal and Ecuador to participate.
Chicago Cubs - Sharon Mason - Newark, IL
In 1998, Sharon Mason founded Equine Dreams, a Newark, Illinois, nonprofit organization that provides therapeutic horseback riding, free of charge, to children and adults with disabilities. The organization is run entirely by volunteers and is a North American Riding for the Handicapped Association Premier Accredited Center. Last year, the organization served more than 70 clients each week.
Chicago White Sox - Kenny Fullman, Chicago, IL
When Kenny Fullman was 12, his father was shot and killed while trying to break up a gang fight on Chicago's Southside. Today, Kenny is a full-time police officer and head coach at Harlan Academy. He is also head coach of the amateur baseball team, City Elite, a program designed to mentor young people and help them prepare for college.
Cincinnati Reds - Mindy Atwood - Hilliard, OH
Mindy Atwood of Hilliard, Ohio, founded Patches of Light to help critically ill children and their families during emergencies to pay for expenses including utility bills, hospital parking, airline tickets, funerals, and any other expense incurred when a child is very sick. She also brings books and "hug bags" to children at the Children's Hospital.
Cleveland Indians - Terry Grahl - Taylor, MI
In January 2007, Terry Grahl established Enchanted Makeovers, an internationally recognized non-profit that refurbishes shelters for women and children, to make them into "places of peace and possibilities." In addition to providing new paint, handmade items, and furnishings, the organization does national outreach to raise awareness of the plight of women and children in shelters and the importance of beauty and hope.
Colorado Rockies - Nikki Berti - Las Vegas, NV
Nikki Berti co-founded the Goodie Two Shoes Foundation, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) which provides new shoes, socks, and other essentials to disadvantaged children in the Las Vegas Valley. The organization began in 2003, when Nikki and her husband, Tony, provided new shoes to 225 children in need. In the first four months of 2010, it has helped more than 2,000 kids from its 48-foot mobile shoe-store-on-wheels.
Detroit Tigers - Gordy Van Haitsma - Grand Rapids, MI
Gordy Van Haitsma is on a mission to get kids bikes and books. The Grand Rapids custodian saves and refurbishes old bikes, and then gives them to students at Alexander Elementary, but only after each has read 15 books. In almost three years Gordy-known as "Mr. Gordy" to students-has awarded more than 60 bikes.
Florida Marlins - Lauren Book-Lim - Aventura, FL
Lauren Book-Lim of Miami, Florida, was sexually abused as a child. As an adult, she established the Lauren's Kids Foundation to prevent sexual abuse and help survivors heal. The foundation provides a national toll-free hotline, helps victims find counseling, developed a curriculum to teach children skills to prevent abuse, and has helped change laws to protect children. This April Lauren organized a 500 mile walk across Florida called "Walk In My Shoes" where she raised awareness for sexual assault and urged lawmakers to pass legislation to protect children.
Houston Astros - Shane Wallace - Victoria, TX
Shane Wallace, a Victoria, Texas police officer, created the city's Blue Santa program, which provides toys, clothing, and other gifts to needy children and their families at Christmas time. Last year 484 kids enjoyed Christmas because of Blue Santa. Shane and other officers escort Blue Santa to children's homes with lights and sirens.
Kansas City Royals - Marcia Merrick, Mission, KS
Despite having no income of her own, Marcia Merrick of Kansas City spends 60 hours each week feeding the hungry and homeless on the streets of Kansas City. Each morning she rises before dawn to prepare more than 400 sack lunches, each with a sandwich, chips, cookies, water and a note of encouragement. She spends the rest of the day distributing the sack lunches to those in need.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim - Ruthe Rosen - Chino Hills, CA
Ruthe Rosen created and Co-founded The Let It Be Foundation in 2006 to honor her daughter, who died of an inoperable brain tumor. The Let It Be Foundation currently helps Chino Valley children and their families battling life threatening illnesses to maintain a sense of normalcy in their lives during the struggle with services such as housekeeping, grocery and meal services, family recreation and sibling needs.
Los Angeles Dodgers - Alma Martinez - Redondo Beach, CA
Sixteen years ago, Alma Martinez founded Sin Barreras/Friends without Barriers, an organization serving low-income HIV-positive Los Angeles residents with medical care, food, and social engagement to honor her son. Her mission is to prevent the spread of and provide quality services for people suffering from HIV/AIDS. Alma provides love and support, and in every case, stays with a patient in the hospital or hospice so that no patient dies alone.
Milwaukee Brewers - Mitch Arnold - Fort Atkinson, WI
Since creating the Peace is the Goal foundation in October 2006 at age 13, Mitch Arnold of Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, has shipped over $20,000 in soccer equipment to children in the US and 3 other countries. He's helped create soccer programs in the Philippines, Haiti, and Romania and holds soccer camps for at-risk children in Arizona. The honor student works multiple jobs to fund the programs.
Minnesota Twins - Bob Bardwell - Stewartville, MN
After a 1973 accident left Bob Bardwell paralyzed from the waist down, he founded a nonprofit youth ranch, Ironwood Springs Christian Ranch, in Stewartville, Minnesota, which hosts 23,000 people each year. He also founded The National Wheelchair Sports and Recreation Camp, attended by 1,000 campers over the last 22 years. The motivational speaker has also completed 100 wheelchair marathons.
New York Mets - Marguerite Baber - Bayonne, NJ
Motivated by her own experience as the parent of an autistic child, Marguerite Baber created The Simpson-Baber Foundation in 1995. Since inception, it has funded over $1,500,000 in direct educational, social, and recreational opportunities to the autism community. She also created The Busy Bee Program in 2002, an early-intervention program recognized as being effective in helping autistic children to maximize their developmental and educational potential.
New York Yankees - Peter Brady - Brookfield, CT
In 1998, Brookfield, Connecticut resident Peter Brady started volunteering as a part-time handyman for seniors in his church's parish community. He raked leaves, changed light bulbs, and fixed leaky faucets. Today, the Handy Dandy Handy Man Ministry is an official nonprofit with more than 1,000 volunteers helping 400 seniors in seven greater Danbury towns. His ministry also includes performing Extreme Home Makeovers for the less fortunate.
Oakland Athletics - Lisa Klein - Oakland, CA
In 2005, Lisa Klein collected baby clothes from friends to send to the victims of Hurricane Katrina. In 2007, she established Loved Twice, a nonprofit that collects "gently used" baby clothing and donates it to newborns in need. Over the past three years, Loved Twice distributed more than 20,000 pounds of clothes to over 3,000 Oakland-area newborns who have directly benefited from Lisa Klein's work.
Philadelphia Phillies - Marci Schankweiler - North Wales, PA
After Marci Schankweiler's husband died of testicular cancer, she founded an organization to send young adult cancer patients and their families on all-expense paid respite vacations. In 10 years, Crossing the Finish Line has benefited more than 800 cancer patients and 3,000 caregivers. Patients and families credit Marci for giving them renewed energy to battle the disease.
Pittsburgh Pirates - Albert Lexie - Monessen, PA
Albert Lexie has shined shoes at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh since 1981. During that time, he has donated 100 percent of his tips to the hospital's Free Care Fund, which ensures that children receive medical care regardless of their family's ability to pay. Albert has raised more than $150,000.
San Diego Padres - Andrew Hoffman - San Diego, CA
Andrew Hoffman works tirelessly for the Hand Up Youth Food Pantry in San Diego, distributing free groceries to hundreds of families in need. With the assistance of San Diego teens, Andrew distributes over 1,500 food bags per month. Last year alone, Hand Up distributed over 22,000 bags of groceries.
San Francisco Giants - Betty Chinn - Eureka, CA
Betty Chinn was homeless for four years when she was a child in China. But for the last 20 years, she has risen at 4 am each morning to prepare meals to distribute twice a day to the hungry and needy of Eureka, California. She also collects and distributes clothing, all while working full time.
St. Louis Cardinals - Eric Greitens - St. Louis, MO
Eric Greitens returned from Iraq wounded but with a determination to continue serving his country. He co-founded The Mission Continues to provide wounded veterans with opportunities for ongoing public service through placements with local community organizations, empowering veterans with the message that their abilities and experience remain valued.
Seattle Mariners - Tim Hannah - Puyallup, WA
After Tim Hannah and his wife, Corina, lost their 2-yearold daughter, Jamie, to complications of her congenital heart defect, Tim founded a nonprofit foundation to provide financial assistance and general support to kids with congenital heart defects and their families. His own experience allows him to help relieve the stresses of caring for ill children.
Tampa Bay Rays - Bill Criswell - Windermere FL
Bill Criswell established Home at Last to give U.S. soldiers injured in Iraq a fresh start in life by giving them mortgage-free homes. Thus far, two homes have been completed with construction on a third beginning July 1. As project chairman, Bill organizes and coordinates the fundraising, candidate's application process, construction team, media coverage, dedication ceremony, and the closing for the family.
Texas Rangers - John Hoover - Dallas, TX
John Hoover donates his skills and expertise as an employee of Rentenbach Constructors to help make wishes come true for Texas children in need. A Wish With Wings, a Texas- based organization that grants the wishes of children with life-threatening diseases, turns to John whenever a child requests a room makeover or their house needs repair.
Toronto Blue Jays - Steve McGrail - Wyoming, Ontario
After Steve McGrail and his wife Lisa lost their premature daughter, Kylie, two days after birth, they founded Kylie's Kause Foundation in Ontario. The foundation has raised $171,000 since 2004 to purchase special beds that are essential for the survival of premature babies. The NICU where Kylie was born now has eight beds thanks to the McGrails.
Washington Nationals - Mark Bergel - Bethesda, MD
When Dr. Mark Bergel volunteered to deliver food to impoverished residents of the Washington, D.C. area, he met families lacking food, beds and access to health care. Responding to the depth of poverty he witnessed, Mark left his career to found A Wider Circle that has since helped more than 50,000 individuals.
About the 2010 Major League Baseball All-Star Game
The 81st Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be played on Tuesday, July 13th in Anaheim and will feature the best of the American League taking on the top players of the National League. Building up to the excitement of the All-Star Game, Major League Baseball will conduct a wide variety of special events and charitable activities for fans both inside and outside of Angel Stadium of Anaheim. At the ballpark, the events will include Taco Bell All-Star Sunday on Sunday, July 11 featuring the XM All-Star Futures Game and the Taco Bell All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game, and Gatorade All-Star Workout Day on Monday, July 12 featuring the State Farm Home Run Derby on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN Radio. Outside of the ballpark, fans will have an opportunity to experience All-Star Summer through a variety of special events including Major League Baseball All-Star FanFest, the five-day interactive fan festival; the All-Star Game Charity 5K & Fun Run presented by Sports Authority and Nike, a charity run/walk on a baseball-themed route to benefit four cancer organizations; and the MLB All-Star Red Carpet Show presented by Chevrolet, a free parade of All-Stars through the streets of Anaheim, which will be broadcast on MLB Network. The Midsummer Classic will be televised nationally on FOX, broadcast on ESPN Radio and will be shown around the world by Major League Baseball International. For more information about 2010 All-Star Summer, visit www.AllStarGame.com.
About PEOPLE magazine
PEOPLE revolutionized personality journalism in 1974 and is today the world's most successful and popular magazine. Each week, the PEOPLE brand brings more than 43 million consumers the latest news, exclusive interviews and in-depth reporting on the most compelling people of our time. In addition to unparalleled access to the entertainment community, the stories of real-life "Heroes Among Us" remain an essential component of PEOPLE's editorial approach. PEOPLE.com is the premier web destination for celebrity news, photos, style and entertainment coverage. With reporters across the globe, PEOPLE is headquartered in New York City. For more information visit www.people.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.