Buck O'Neil had an enormous impact on the world of baseball and the lives of the everyday people he touched. Buck spent many days and nights supporting the Royals from the same seat behind home plate at Kauffman Stadium, both as a scout and a fan. To honor Buck, the Buck O'Neil Legacy Seat program fills "Buck's Seat" for every home game with a member of the community who, on a large or small scale, embodies an aspect of Buck's spirit.
To nominate someone for the 2013 program, please click here.
Monday, April 8 – Dr. Charles Wheeler
Dr. Charles Wheeler is a Kansas City native who has had years of public service including two terms as the Mayor of Kansas City, Missouri, from 1971 to 1979. During his tenure at City Hall, Kansas City saw several advances including the completion of the Truman Sports Complex, construction of Kansas City International Airport and Bartle Hall among others. His iconic status in Kansas City was officially honored by the naming of the Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport.
Earlier today, Dr. Wheeler joined Royals Hall of Famer John Mayberry to co-chair the 26th Annual Greater Kansas City Day to support Rotary Club Youth Camp as well as other area children's charities. He is joined today by his son, Graham, fellow Jackson County Judge Alex Petrovic and his son, Alex Junior, and family friend Steve Sturdivant.
Tuesday, April 9 – John Culp
John Culp, and his late wife, Sandy, lost a daughter due to an eating disorder and, as a result, have worked hard to keep the issue in front of legislature and the public. A Warrensburg native, John has shared his story with the Missouri government and with students and families.
John is praised for his self-sacrificing ways and positive attitude and has had an impact on everyone he's met.
Wednesday, April 10 – Marcia Merrick
For over 40 years, Marcia Merrick has been waking up at 4 am to make at least 400 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for needy people in various parts of Kansas City. Each morning and afternoon, she drives to eleven areas of Kansas City and delivers the sandwiches to those who are hungry.
Along with the sandwiches, Marcia hands out other items such as deodorant, toothpaste, and medical supplies to people who may need them.
Friday, April 12 – Terry Benson
Terry Benson's daughter, Lyric, was murdered in New York City in April of 2003, but her organ donation saved five lives. To honor his daughter, Terry started Lyric for Life, a foundation to help organ donors, recipients and their families.
The foundation also grants scholarships to area high school seniors who are interested in studying theater - the same major Lyric studied.
Saturday, April 13 – Rick Bennett
Rick Bennett and his wife, Kathy, became advocates of Autism Speaks after their son, Ryan, was diagnosed with autism. For 5 years, the Bennetts have participated in Kansas City Walk Now for Austism Speaks and have personally raised nearly $20,000 through their own walk team.
The Bennetts join the game as part of Major League Baseball Autism Awareness, an effort by all 30 teams to support families affected by autism and autism spectrum disorder.
Sunday, April 14 – Jake Keary
This year, Jake Keary was the first boy scout to be named an Eagle Scout in the Heart of America Council. In 2003, Jake started as a Tiger Cub with Pack 3055 in Lawrence, Kansas and bridged to Troop 60 in 2008 where he began his career as a boyscout and held many leadership positions.
For Jake's Eagle Scout Project, he constructed a memorial bench and provided landscaping for the Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center.
Friday, April 26 – Karen Hardcastle
A lover of classical music, Karen Hardcastle, has served as president of multiple charities supporting the Kansas City Symphony. For 20 years, Karen has worked tirelessly on programs that introduce children to classical music and has helped raise nearly $2 million.
This year, Karen is coordinating a conference hosting all North American major symphony charities and will introduce them to the Kauffman Center of Performing Arts.
Saturday, April 27 – Steve Curtis
Passionate about helping at-risk youth, Steve Curtis has worked diligently to make the urban core of Kansas City, Kansas a better place for everyone. Steve's efforts have resulted in the creation of artistic murals to cover graffiti, community gardens, and a new youth arts studio in the heart of the urban core.
The new center, co-founded by Steve, serves economically at-risk and disabled youth.
Sunday, April 28 – Shawnie Nix
As a member of the Police Athletic League of the Kansas City Police Department, Officer Shawnie Nix volunteers her time to help underprivileged youth in Kansas City. By coaching boxing, Shawnie has worked with young girls on their skills and confidence both in and outside of the ring and encourages them to be active, no matter the sport.
Through the PAL, Shawnie has become a constant figure and role model in many young girls' lives.
Monday, April 29 – Butch Bowen
Currently the President of the Local Retirees Council for Laborers Local 264, Butch Bowen spends a lot of his time with retired people, visiting and assisting them with anything they may need. To help them, Butch has spent time building wheelchair ramps and has even traveled to Jefferson City to lobby on behalf of retirees and their rights.
Before taking over the Retirees Council, Butch, who is also a Cub Scout volunteer, spent many years with Laborers Local 264 serving as President and Vice President.
Tuesday, April 30 – Joey Butler
Though recently diagnosed with terminal cancer, Pastor Joey Butler has still found ways to pour life into those around him and help them with their needs. A mentor for young people and positive influence for others, he teaches and models leadership, character, and perseverance.
Known for his humor and love of baseball, the Blue Springs, Missouri native believes baseball is God's Favorite Sport.
Wednesday, May 1 – Laura Galler
In honor of her grandfather who passed away in 2000 from non-Hodgkins lymphona, Laura Galler started fundraising with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society back in 2011. After joining the LLS Team in Training, Laura fundraised and ran for the Nike Women's Marathon and the Walt Disney World Marathon.
Last year, Laura held a fundraising campaign for LLS Man and Woman of the Year, which takes all of the money and distributes it locally to support patients, their families, and research.
Thursday, May 2 – Cynthia Smith
From 1979 to 1992, Cynthia Smith brought you the news each night with co-anchor Phil Witt on WDAF. Though she reported on Presidential Campaigns and the war in El Salvador, Cynthia is probably best known for her adoption series Thursday's Child and the founding of Fox 4 Love Fund for Children. Cynthia went on to become the President of Wayside Waifs and President and CEO of Sunflower House, which serves abused children.
Saturday, May 4 – Mike Frechin
After retiring in 2008 as an operating engineer for Holiday Sand and Gravel, Mike Frechin began volunteering at St. James Place, which is operated by the Bishop Sullivan Center. A few days very week, Mike volunteers in the food pantry and washes dishes on Thursday nights in the Community Kitchen. Throughout the year, Mike also helps with fundraising efforts for the nonprofit including Billy Butler's Hit-It-A-Ton program.
Hit-It-A-Ton supports the Bishop Sullivan Center by supplying a ton of food for every homerun that Billy hits, and a half ton for each double.
Sunday, May 5 – Joe Mendoza
After moving to the Greater Kansas City area in 2009, Joe started the Retail Lending Division at Arvest Bank. Due to his upbringing, Joe has always been involved in helping the Hispanic community and does so by serving on the Board of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Board of the Arts Council of Johnson County, while also acting as the Treasurer of the Guadalupe Center Board.
After 13 years of banking, Joe brings a wealth of knowledge to the organizations of which he serves.
Friday, May 10 – Pam Erickson (Operation Blessing)
An advocate for helping people around the world, Pam Erickson started with Operation Blessing International nearly 18 years ago. When she first arrived, Pam developed the first gifts-in-kind program which acquires and distributes donated food and supplies for both domestic and international relief efforts and has since received and donated more than one billion pounds of product.
For the past 11 years, Pam and her team at Operation Blessing have partnered with the Kansas City Royals and Chiefs for the annual event, "Two Teams One Goal." Each year, they distribute food and supplies to nearly 3,000 people in the Kansas City area.
Saturday, May 11 – Adrian Trotter (KU Med)
Nearly two years ago, Adrian Trotter, 19-year-old former high school track star was diagnosed with lymphoma and began chemotherapy treatment. Then one year ago, doctors at The University of Kansas Cancer Center were able to find a donor match for Adrian and perform a successful blood stem cell transplant. Today, Adrian is in complete remission and plans to pursue his lifelong dream of becoming a police officer.
Sitting with Adrian is Dr. Sunil (sue-NEEL) Abhyankar (ah-bee-YANG-kar), one of the expert physicians of The University of Kansas Cancer Center.
Sunday, May 12 – Connie Smith (Susan G. Komen)
In December of 2011, Connie Smith was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer. With the support of her husband, Mike, and their two children, Connie began treatment and the family became active in Susan G. Komen Kansas City. They started a Race for the Cure Team and raised nearly $5000. Connie's last chemotherapy treatment was just two months ago and she is thrilled to be able to be sitting in Buck's seat today.
Thursday, May 23 – Ellen Bell
The epitome of resilient, Ellen Bell was physically and emotionally abused as a child, but did not let that hold her back. The first girl in her family to go to college, Ellen got a degree in psychology and taught for 37 years. While teaching, she encouraged her students to participate in sports and theatre and supported them by attending games and plays.
After a car accident in 2008, Ellen had to relearn how to walk, talk and eat. Always a fighter, Ellen never gave up and is now spending plenty of time with her family and encouraging her grandchildren to be active in physical activities.
Saturday, May 24 – Ellen Suni
Since moving to Kansas City in 1980, Ellen Suni has been a tireless advocate for education, equality, and justice in the community. A supporter of the Kansas City Youth Court, Ellen co-founded the Midwest Innocence Project, a program that provides free legal assistance to the wrongfully convicted.
As a legal educator, Ellen has been recognized by many for her unending commitment to her students and expanding access to education regardless of race, class, or gender.
Saturday, May 25 – Dick Sipe
A minister for 33 years, Pastor Dick Sipe is currently the Senior Pastor at the First Baptist Church in Marshalltown, Iowa where he is actively involved in the community. Dick, who will retire in July, participates in Habitat for Humanity, Awana Children's Ministry, and many school related programs.
Additionally to the philanthropic work in his own community, he developed and implemented the Honduras Orphanage in Azacualpa, Honduras.
Sunday, May 26 – Fred & Joan Schwartz
Volunteers for Wayside Waifs since 2007, Fred and Joan Schwartz have devoted their free time to caring for and helping thousands of homeless, abandoned, or abused dogs. Spending countless hours providing exercise and enrichment to the dogs, Fred and Joan get to know the personalities and traits of each animal to help match them to a potential adopter.
Along with working with the dogs, Fred and Joan also reach out to the community by representing the Wayside Waifs Humane Education Program and taking adoptable dogs to local news stations to help them find homes.
Monday, May 27 – Pat Quinn
A Vietnam veteran, Pat Quinn served as an aviation ordinanceman for the Navy, photographing ships spotted on their plane's radar. In 2010, Pat started the Celtic Thunder Ride, a motorcycle riding fundraiser where riders place wreathes at veterans' cemeteries, while raising money for the Wounded Warrior Project.
During its three-year existence, the event has raised over $20,000 for Wounded Warrior participants. On this Memorial Day, the Royals remember all the men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our country.
Tuesday, May 28 – Amali Reilly
A nurse with Teva for the past 6 years, Amali Reilly has worked with patients living with multiple sclerosis as part of their "Shared Solutions" patient support team. Recognized among her peers for her experience and commitment to people living with MS, Amali is a mentor and speaker, providing information on various medicines and services to patients, nurses, and physicians.
Her commitment to making a difference extends outside of the office through participation in many MS fundraisers and other health-related causes.
Tuesday, June 4 – Annette Shelton
14 years ago, Annette Shelton's father, Larry, lost a kidney to cancer and 7 years later had the other partially removed. After a year on dialysis, Larry was added to the transplant list and found that Annette was a 100% match. Without hesitation, Annette donated a kidney to her father in April and saved his life.
After two months of recovery, both are doing great, and Larry feels like he's 20 years younger.
Wednesday, June 5 – Sister Vickie Perkins
Sister Vickie Perkins is the founding president of Cristo Rey Kansas City High School, a school that offers a college prep education enhanced by a corporate work-study program that teaches students skills to use in a work environment. Since the first year in 2006, Vickie is proud to say every student has been accepted into college and over 70% of them are still in school.
A member of the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, Vickie previously served as a teacher, principal, superintendent of schools, and executive director of a home for emotionally disturbed children.
Thursday, June 6 – Makaela Kerr
A cheerleader, student athlete, and volunteer, Makaela Kerr has been key in the development of the Y Challengers Cheer Clinic at the YMCA. Through the program, Makaela teaches the children with special needs new skills and encourages them to try new fitness activities, no matter their individual abilities.
Makaela's positive impact on others has made her a role model for young children.
Friday, June 7 – Kelly Manz
Kelly Manz's daughter Chloe, was born with an undetected congenital heart defect that, had it not been for Kelly's motherly intuition, could have cost Chloe her life. She insisted on a pulse oximetry test for her daughter, an easy and noninvasive life-saving test that is not mandated by most states.
To help future newborns and their mothers, Kelly worked closely with organizations like the American Heart Association and to pass legislation in Missouri that would require all newborns to be screened with pulse ox.
Saturday, June 8 – Susan Brown
A police officer in Kansas City, Kansas for 31 and a half years, Susan Brown showed tremendous bravery in October of 2006. While guarding the vault at the Kansas Speedway, 2 armed men approached the vault with plans to rob it. Not allowing them access, Susan was shot multiple times, but due to her courageous and heroic actions, no one else was harmed.
After a year of recovery, Susan returned to the force full-time, and eventually retired at the end of last year.
Sunday, June 9 – Sara Tuttle-Inman
Last June, on her 7-month wedding anniversary, Sara Tuttle-Inman had a seizure that was caused by a malignant brain tumor, then quickly had surgery and began treatments. During the last year, she had two more surgeries and defeated two blood infections, totaling over 30 days in the hospital.
Today is her 27th birthday, a day she was not sure she would see, and has made it here by staying positive and with the support of her family and friends.
Monday, June 10 – Michelle Rivera
In 2002, Michelle Rivera started Spay & Neuter Kansas City, a local nonprofit clinic located in Kansas City, Missouri, to provide low-cost or free sterilization surgeries for dogs and cats that belong to needy families. Through the clinic's different programs, they assist over 14,000 needy pets each year and have performed over 60,000 free and low cost spay/neuter surgeries over the last 10 years.
As a result of these efforts, Michelle and her team at Spay & Neuter Kansas City have helped decrease the number of shelter intakes each year.
Tuesday, June 11 – Paul Washington
A committed father and husband, Paul Washington has 3 teenagers that he tries to stay current with by getting familiar with the technology they use, but also insists on face-to-face conversations. An inspiration to many, Paul is a public school teacher and aims to be a positive influence for many of his students who need a male role model in their lives.
Earlier this evening, Paul was named the 2013 Royals Father of the Year, as part of the club's annual collaboration with the National Center for Fathering.
Wednesday, June 12 – Jo Ann Herd
At the age of 72, Jo Ann Herd actively participates in a type of karate called Okinawa Kenpo and has become an accomplished martial artist with a black belt. Though already active, Jo Ann's biggest reason for taking up Okinawa Kenpo was her grandson Ethan, who has Asperger's Syndrome. She did not want his disability to hold him back and, as a result, together they have successfully trained and practiced the art.
A role model for many, Jo Ann makes a positive impact on everyone around her.