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.
Sunday, April 3 – First Winner
Tuesday, April 5 – Second Winner
Friday, April 8 – H.C. Palmer
H.C. Palmer is positively impacting the lives of military members and their families in Kansas City. The Vietnam War veteran founded "RezVets" and volunteers with the Moral Injury Association, organizations offering outreach and support to area military veterans. Dozens of veterans and family members have received free counseling thanks to these organizations.
H.C. also co-authored a study guide on moral injury used by hundreds of professionals across the United States to help them understand this deep emotional issue suffered by vets.
Saturday, April 9 – Mindy Corporon
Mindy Corporon and her family suffered an indescribable tragedy when she lost her father and son in a shooting at the Jewish Community Center in 2014. Mindy and her friends have created a movement to honor her father, Dr. William Corporan, and son, Reat. Starting next Tuesday before second anniversary of the tragedy, a Seven Days Conference will encourage people to "love, discover, focus on others and move forward."
Her "Faith Always Wins" approach encourages people of good faith to be the "ripple that changes the world."
Sunday, April 10 – Nate Reichmuth
Nate Reichmuth is an Eagle Scout currently attending Olathe East High School. Recently, Nate noticed a man in danger of drowning in a Southern Ozark river. He dove into high waters, swam to him, and then safely brought the man to shore. Nate was awarded the Boy Scouts Lifesaving Award for saving a life under circumstance that indicated heroism and risk of his own life.
Tuesday, April 19 – Jodi Robinson
Jodi Robinson has been helping Wayside Waifs for many years by both volunteering and donating money. In 2007, she lent her expertise in accounting and joined the finance committee, and then in 2008 joined the Board of Directors. Under her leadership, integrity, and positive energy Jodi has been a tireless advocate for Wayside's mission and lead them through a capital campaign and shelter renovation.
After personally adopting a dog in 2011, she has seen firsthand how important pets are and how valuable they become to a family.
Wednesday, April 20 – Alana Vawter
At 13, Alana Vawter was extremely active in sports and excelling academically. After a severe reaction to bacteria, she was diagnosed with Stevens Johnson Syndrome, a rare condition that has been described as the body burning from the inside out as blisters cover the body. After spending a few weeks in the hospital, she was able to return home and begin the long road to recovery.
After two long years of recovery, through a lot of effort and dedication, she plays softball at Staley High School and was recently awarded the Lockton Companies Resiliency Award from WIN for KC.
Thursday, April 21 – Julie Cain
Following her two-and-a-half year old daughter's cancer diagnosis in 2011, Julie Cain has participated in many fundraisers and events to help raise awareness about pediatric cancer in addition to raising tens of thousands of dollars of research. Currently, Julie is the vice president of Every Day a Hero, a program that helps connect local families of children with cancer or blood diseases with resources to help them on their journey.
Julie encourages everyone to perform acts of kindness in honor of children with cancer.
Friday, April 22 – Nikol Terrill
After hearing the story of a father and son's sacrifice, Nikol Terrill decided to get involved with Pinky Swear. The Pinky Swear Foundation is a nonprofit that works to ease the financial and emotional impacts experienced by families fighting a pediatric cancer diagnosis. Nikol helps raise corporate and individual donations to increase the funds available for families and to work with kids to develop the next generation of charitable leaders.
Saturday, April 23 – Nikki and Phil Jacobs
After their daughter, Raylin was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Nikki and Phil Jacobs started Autism Hope for Families. The support group and non-profit organization helps children, families, and schools with the costs of therapies, equipment, and medical bills due to autism.
Formed of several families in surrounding communities, the organization has organized Light It Up Blue Chanute, golf tournaments, and dueling piano shows to raise money and awareness.
Sunday, April 24 – Kirk Davis
Kirk Davis has served as Gladstone's City Manager since 1998 and has thirty-seven years of management experience in local government. During his eighteen years, he has completed $150 million in infrastructure and facility improvements, including the construction, expansion, and remodeling of many buildings and parks.
Involved in many community projects and groups, many feel the recent retiree's leadership and commitment has made Gladstone a great place to live and work.
Monday, May 2 – Dick Rhyne
First Call Board Secretary and 2013 Volunteer of the Year Dick Rhyne has devoted many years and countless hours in service to First Call Alcohol/Drug Prevention & Recovery. First Call is a Kansas City nonprofit devoted to providing quality prevention and recovery services to individuals, families and the community. Using evidence-based programs, First Call is the first call for individuals and families in need of hope and healing.
Tuesday, May 3 – Donna Cartwright
An advocate for the homeless, Donna Cartwright volunteers in many ways including preparing and serving food in support of Tom's Mission and the KC Rescue Mission. The Senior Call Center Nurse with Teva Pharmaceuticals also volunteers at the food bank "In As Much Ministries" and also holds food drives and lemonade stands to donate to the ministry that serves those in need.
In addition to volunteering with many organizations, Donna anonymously donates food, clothing, and hygiene products to families in need in the Kansas City area through the local non-profit organization, LOVE, Inc.
Wednesday, May 4 – Dan Eaken
Coach Dan Eaken is synonymous with the Olathe Girls Softball Program. In the 1970s, he started the program when his first four children, all girls, started playing the sport. In time, he helped raise money for the first girls softball complex and then another. Thanks to his tireless work, thousands of girls and young women have gone off to play completive softball and earned scholarships.
At age 78, Coach Eaken still helps run the programs in Olathe and coaches the KC Peppers team.
Friday, May 13 – Rebecca Buseman
Rebecca Buseman of Overland Park was forever changed when she was diagnosed with colon cancer at the age of 23. By knowing her risk and having yearly screenings, Becky's doctors were able to identify a tumor early and begin treatment immediately. This June, Becky will finish treatment and will continue to raise awareness of the importance of colon cancer screenings.
Tomorrow, Becky will graduate from Kansas State University with a degree in marketing!
Saturday, May 14 – RJ Devine
For the last five years, Rich Devine, along with other parents, has tried to provide a reasonable baseball option to youth in the Kansas RBI program. Acting as landscaper, coach, mentor, advocate, activist, and many other roles, Coach Devine wants to make sure the youth in the Kansas City metro area have a great area to play baseball in.
Believing the youth are what will shape our future, Rich and others are giving back to their community now to try to make a better place in the future.
Sunday, May 15 – Councilman Jermaine Reed
Councilman Jermaine Reed represents the 3rd District in Kansas City, Missouri and has pledged the spend his time supporting the urban core. Councilman Reed was an early supporter of the MLB Urban Youth Academy and has helped secure millions of dollars for the John "Buck" O'Neil Education and Research Center as well as the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.
Ever the Royals fan, Councilman Reed has written several proclamations honoring the team's postseason runs in 2014 and 2015, leading the chamber each time in a "Let's Go Royals" chant.
Tuesday, May 17 – Christian Boschert
Christian Boschert loved volunteering for Special Olympics and loved playing tennis so he combined the two by creating the Kansas City Tennis Buddies. Each week, this organization brings 10-15 Special Olympics athletes together to learn new skills and bond in a social setting. From beginners to pros, the group includes a wide range of athletes who get to be with their friends while playing a sport they love.
A student at the University of Missouri, Christian is also extremely involved in the St. Thomas More Newman Center where he served as the Catholic Student Association President this past year.
Wednesday, May 18 - 1:15 p.m. – Stewart Bloomfield and Patrick Salmon
Special Agent Stewart Bloomfield and Task Force Officer Patrick Salmon have given the lives, and put their lives on the line, for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Agent Bloomfield and Officer Salmon were injured in a shootout with a suspect in Topeka last month, along with Deputy U.S. Marshals Jeffrey Andrew and Jerry Viera. All survived and managed to protect innocent victims from being harmed. Agent Bloomfield is joined by his children, Mackayla and Dex. And Officer Salmon is joined by his wife, Lisa.
Wednesday, May 18 - 7:15 p.m. – Anne Kobbermann
Dr. Anne Kobbermann is a breast cancer surgeon at Overland Park Regional Medical Center and other hospitals around Kansas City. She attended medical school at UMKC and, after a fellowship in Texas, returned to the Kansas City area. Dr. Kobbermann and her fellow medical professionals have worked closely over the years with the American Cancer Society and, in particular, the Sarah Cannon Cancer Center at Research Medical Center. She's been one of the area's leading fundraiser for the cancer society's "Making Strides Against Breast Cancer" program.
Dr. Kobberman and her family volunteered this week for a promotion on the 2016 Major League Baseball All-Star voting campaign that will be unveiled soon by the Royals and the league.
Friday, May 27 – Stanton Thompson
Rear Admiral Stanton Thompson served in the United States Navy for thirty-five years and now serves on the advisory board at the National World War One Museum and Memorial. A spokesperson and advocate for the museum, the highly decorated veteran serves as a spokesperson and advocate for the museum, doing presentations in his custom-designed World War One Navy Uniform throughout the metro, and contributes advice and expertise to the work being done at the memorial.
Saturday, May 28 – David Saving
David Saving is a servant leader for a 50 year-old organization out of Topeka called "LeadaChild," which has helped 26,000 poor students in 29 developing countries. He travels to these countries, speaking hope to the students on behalf of Americans who sponsor them to receive a Christian education. This last year, David and a friend biked 35-hundred miles across America â from Portland, Oregon to Portland, ME â and raised more than a quarter-million dollars. You can learn more at leadachild.org.
David and his will bike across America again this summer, hoping to raise another $50,000 for children.
Sunday, May 29 – Russ Cole
A longtime member of the Topeka Civitan club, Russ Cole started a golf tournament to raise funds for non-profit organizations in the Topeka, Kansas area. Since its inception over ten years ago, the Topekan Civitan Golf Tournament has raised nearly $100,000 for the club's endeavors associated with helping people with developmental disabilities.
Monday, May 30 – Brian Spencer
Shortly after the World War 2 Museum was built, Brian Spencer knew he wanted to find a way to honor veterans from the great war. Brian had the idea to use high school students to take their local vets to the museum and eventually began working with The Honor Flight Network. In November of 2007, he and students from Lyndon High School took the very first Honor Flight, Student Edition in the country and have since taken nearly twenty trips and hundreds of veterans to visit the World War 2 Museum.
Tuesday, May 31 – Donald Northcross
As a former Deputy Sheriff, Donald Northcross was able to use that platform to build relationships with young men to bridge the gap and change the beliefs between law enforcement and the black community. As the founder and CEO of OK Program, he has partnered with both the KCMO and KCK police, training and using black officers to mentor African American men starting in the sixth grade and following all through high school. Currently, the OK Program and its officers are mentoring over 300 young men.
Wednesday, June 1 – Lynne Berend
After her daughter, Amy, died of melanoma at the age of 30, Lynne Berend realized she knew very little about the disease and very little money was devoted to the research. Wanting to change that for others, she started the Miles for Melanoma Kansas City will now host their sixth annual 5K run/walk and kids' fun run. Throughout the last few years, she has talked to anyone who will listen, educating them about sun safety in hopes that she will be able to save someone from the disease that took her beloved daughter.
Monday, June 13 – Katherine Sowers
Having a passion for sports, Katherine Sowers works hard in all aspects of her life to create more opportunities for girls and women to get involved with sports. Personally, in 2013, she was selected as the starting strong safety for the gold-winning USA Women's National Football team, accumulating five interceptions in one game. This past year, Katie served as the first-ever female assistant football coach in the East West Shrine college all-star game.
Currently, Katie is working on the creation of an all-girls baseball league and this fall, will be the third female to coach in the NFL when she coaches the Atlanta Falcons wide receivers during the preseason.
Tuesday, June 14 – Jim Huber
Jim Huber has been coaching and mentoring young people for nearly forty-five years. While working as an air traffic controller, the Olathe native coached Little League, Babe Ruth league, and Legion Baseball for over twenty years. After retiring from the FAA, he became the head baseball coach at Avila University where he coached for eleven years, earning numerous awards including an induction into the Avila Hall of Fame.
Additionally, Jim has coached special needs students in the Olathe School District and is currently coaching youth baseball for Mac-N-Seitz.
Wednesday, June 15 – Joe McGuire
Joe McGuire has participated in Special Olympics Missouri for thirty-four years, having received the gold medal at the 1995 World Games for Gymnastics and being named the Special Olympics Missouri Athlete of the Year in 1996. Currently competing in basketball, bowling, softball, and golf, Joe also finds the time to volunteer in the community including at his church and with the Knights of Columbus.
Also in 1996, Joe was inducted into the Kansas City Sports Walk of Stars alongside Buck O'Neil.
Monday, June 27 – Cleo DeGraffenreid
Cleo DeGraffenreid started her career as a nurse, but took a leave of absence to enter the US Air Force. Completing her tour, she worked at St. Mary's Hospital where she was the head nurse of the surgical recovery room for fifteen years, all while maintaining her status in the Air Force Reserves. Eventually transferred to the Missouri National Guard, she was the Chief Nurse of the unit and promoted to Full Colonel, making her the first African American woman to reach this rank in the United States.
Following her military service, she worked in home healthcare and served on the board of the Niles Home for Children.
Tuesday, June 28 – Marilyn Deister
As a teacher starting out in 1951, Marilyn Deister realized there weren't a lot of options for female athletes so she started creating opportunities for them in the Kansas City, Mo. school district. After school each day, she would coach her students in various sports including basketball and swimming, and enter them in competitions in which they would excel.
Also in 1951, Marilyn created the synchronized swim team, the Kansas City Sea Sprites, and now 65 years later and at the age of 91, the Olympic Bronze Medalist still coaches four synchronized swim practices a week.
Thursday, July 7 – Tracey Passatino
After her sister was in an abusive relationship, Tracey Passatino co-founded the Foundation 4 Domestic Violence Prevention. Their mission is to significantly reduce the incidents of domestic violence through community outreach, awareness, and education. Over time, they hope to work with agencies across the U.S. to implement programming targeted for 6th-8th grade students to help them learn about healthy and unhealthy relationships.
Currently, they hold events to raise funds for existing domestic violence agencies programming that match their mission.
Friday, July 8 – Elaine Apel
Elaine Apel has been a Dream Manager and volunteer for Dream Factory since 2006. Also on the Board of Directors for the last six years, she has managed, directed and plans all monthly volunteer meetings, background checks, and volunteer lists for all of the Dream Factory special events and fundraisers.
Elaine makes every volunteer feel needed and welcome by recognizing each one and their importance to the Dream Factory of Greater Kansas City.
Saturday, July 9 – Bob Hill
The Minister Emeritus of the Community Chrisitan Church in Kansas City, Missouri, Dr. Bob Hill served there for more than thirty years before retiring in 2015 when he began working as the Community Consultant with the Kauffman Foundation and Citizen Corps of What U Can Do. The recipient of multiple degrees, Dr. Hill also serves as a board member of multiple organizations including the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and the GKC Chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
Sunday, July 10 – Anne Joyner
After Anne Joyner's son needed blood following surgery in 1994, she founded and is now the co-chair of the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection Blood Drive Committee. This past May, the church collected its 35,000th unit of blood and over the years has helped over 70,000 patients fight cancer, have surgery, and recover from serious accidents.
Anne and the Church of the Resurrection supports the community by sponsoring blood drives with the Community Blood Center which hosted the annual Royals Blood Drive this past week.
Monday, July 18 – Chris Anderson and Sean D'Agostino
Chris Anderson has worked with the Kansas City Fire Department for twenty years, serving at many stations throughout the city. Also a paramedic, he has delivered two babies while on duty, has worked many long hours including with the Advanced Life Support Pumpers program, and received a Unit citation for a rescue he worked at Worlds of Fun.
Sean D'Agostino has served the Grandview Fire Department for the last ten years. Known for his ability to remain calm and levelheaded, this was most evident when another firefighter was trapped in a burning building and he selflessly climbed a ladder and reached through the window to save him.
Tuesday, July 19 – Darol Rodrock
Started in 2014, The Darol Rodrock Foundation has allowed Darol Rodrock to dedicate his life to building a community for kids in foster care who don't have the love of family or friends to lend them a helping hand. While still in its infancy, the Foundation has made a big impact on Kansas City foster-care children. Darol regularly talks to those in the system, sharing his own story and offering hope.
Through his efforts, children have been gifted financial aid, school supplies, clothes, holiday celebrations and gifts, and other basic necessities.
Wednesday, July 20 – Kelly Siebert
After being unable to find any lacrosse programs in the Northland for her daughter to play, Kelly Siebert started a program for elementary and middle school girls. To build enthusiasm for the sport, Kelly held lacrosse clinics, developed a mentorship program, and worked with the Park Hill School district to secure practice fields, all while maintaining her full-time job as a pharmacist.
Today, the Park Bulldogs lacrosse team has grown 350 percent, has three teams participating in the KC Metro Youth Girls League, and Kelly is active on the KC Metro Girls Lacrosse Association.
Friday, July 22 – Sister Marie Harris
When Sister Marie Harris began her career forty-five years ago, she felt a strong desire to make a difference. Through her humble leadership at Avila University, she has inspired faculty and mentored hundreds of students, established Avila's adult degree program, led a large effort volunteer program that gave over 200,000 hours to Kansas City, and has served on nine community boards, Sister Marie has made a world of difference in higher education and the community.
Saturday, July 23 – Waymond King
Former University of Iowa basketball player, Waymond King is passionate about working on urban core youth initiatives. As the Director of Athletics and Healthy Lifestyles for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City, Waymond oversees the development and implementation of Sports LAB, a program that uses sports as a "hook" to teach members essential life skills through sports participation and instruction.
Waymond hopes that the many club members who aspire to be professional athletes can learn critical life skills through their Sports LAB experience.
Sunday, July 24 – Steve Sodergren
Using his goal to run a marathon in all 50 states as a platform, Steve Sodergren of Topeka started an initiative called Running4 to raise awareness for the Angels, Fighters, and Survivors of cancer. In addition to raising over $16,000 for various cancer charities, the Running4 mission also includes delivering meals to families who are undergoing cancer treatments.
Steve also spends time volunteering with the running club at the Topeka Correctional Facility and through fundraising races held within the facility, has raised and donated more than $50,000 to a wide variety of charities.
Monday, July 25 – David Carson
David Carson started helping with the Special Olympics in the late '70s officiating and coaching soccer and rugby. After a restaurant was no longer able to hold a Secret Santa event for people with special needs, David picked up where it left off. He and his friends, Friends for Families, delivered gifts and eventually started doing a luncheon where Santa would drop by to deliver gifts to the families that he and his elves prepared.
Tuesday, July 26 – Sandy Skaggs
Sandy Skaggs is one of the longest tenured board members of the Mid-Continent Public Library, serving as both president and vice president. During her twenty-nine years on the board, Sandy has helped oversee the growth of the library system and construction of most of Mid-Continent Public Library's 31 branches in Clay, Jackson, and Platte County.
The life-long Kansas City, Missouri resident has also served her community in other ways including the board of Hillcrest Transitional Housing, appointments to regional commissions, and through longtime political and community activism.
Wednesday, July 27 – Wade Leachner
In 2010, Wade Leachner started a golf tournament for HERO Makers, Helping Everyone Remember Orphans, an annual men's mission trip to Mexico to construct buildings onsite for orphanages. Through the golf tournament, Wade has helped raise over $100,000 to buy supplies that have helped build a school, an activities building, two add-ons to existing houses, and a 4000 square foot home for boys at the Angels of God orphanage.
Friday, August 5 – Christine Lentz
For the last four years, Christine Lentz has been the Board President of the Police Athletic League, a nonprofit organization working with Kansas City, Missouri police officers to build positive relationships with inner city youth through sports. During her time as president, she has helped raise over $1.8 million for improvements to the P-A-L complex and has over $1.2 million to fund various sports and mentoring programs for the youth who are involved in the organizations.
The President of FirstService Residential, through Christine's leadership and dedication, the Kansas City Police Athletic League is the model program for others across the country.
Saturday, August 6 – Roxane Duncan
Diagnosed with epilepsy at 15, Roxane Duncan's seizures began at a pivotal age. Multiple medications weren't able to control her seizures, and the condition robbed her of a driver's license and personal independence. Now, thanks to her fighting spirit and innovative treatment options at the University of Kansas Hospital's Level 4 Epilepsy Center, Roxane is seizure-free for more than a year and finally a licensed driver.
Sunday, August 7 – Mamie Hughes
Mamie Hughes has served Kansas City as a community activist, county legislator, civil-rights advocate, ombudswoman, mentor, teacher, and champion for the underserved. Mamie has a long list of career achievements including being voted into to the first Jackson County Legislature, helping secure the designation of 18th and Vine as a historic district, and, her crowning career achievement, serving as the ombudswoman for the Bruce R. Watkins Drive.
As a volunteer, she has focused her attention of preserving history and healthcare accessibility, serving on the boards for the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and Midwest Center of Holocaust Education.
Tuesday, August 9 – Mary Jean Billingsley
Encouraged by raising a son with Asperger's Syndrome, Mary Jean Billingsley is a leading advocate for those on the austim spectrum and others with disabilities. Working to build interpersonal and career skills while also striving for broader community understanding, she has served as the co-chair of the Midwestern region Autism Across the Life Span conference, testified before the US Congress for disability legislation, and wrote guidelines for campus and staff who work with students on the autism spectrum at Johnson Country Community College.
Wednesday, August 10 – Shannon Lawson
As a teacher, Shannon Lawson wanted her students to experience service learning so started the Bowl-a-thon. For the last seventeen years, students have worked with school staff and community members to raise money for the American Cancer Society by distributing donation letters, signing up bowlers, and securing silent auction items.
With the help of students, parents, families, friends, and the community, they have raised over $30,000.
Thursday, August 11 – Adam Hamilton
The Reverend Adam Hamilton is senior pastor of Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, the largest United Methodist Church in the world. He is the author of 22 books. And in the last eight years, he has spoken to more than 70,000 Christian leaders in 40 states on leadership and strategies for missional outreach. His congregants, collectively known as "COR" on four campuses around the metro area, have worked thousands of hours a year on community outreach.
Pastor Hamilton is joined by his wife, LaVon, of 33 years and is family.
Thursday, August 18 – Scott Shigley
Sergeant First Class Scott Shigley has served twenty-one years in the United States Army Military Corps and has deployed twice. Highly decorated, he was also awarded the Soldier's Medal for Heroism for saving the lives of two people who were injured, unconscious, and stuck in a burning vehicle as the result of a head-on collision with a drunk driver.
Tonight, we honor him as a part of the group, Hiring Our Heroes.
Friday, August 19 – Kathy Nelson
Kathy Nelson is the president of the Kansas City Sports Commission. The commission brings dozens of annual sporting events to the greater Kansas City area, including NCAA championships, the Kansas City marathon and Camp WIN. Kathy was a chief planner for one of the greatest days in Kansas City history. She and a small staff worked with the city to host the parade and rally celebrating the Royals world championship, attended by hundreds of thousands of fans. It's been described as a near perfect day and event. Kathy also organized the Relay the Way opening day first pitch this year to raise funds for the Urban Youth Academy.
Kathy and the commission focus on making Kansas City better every day through sports.
Saturday, August 20 – Jessica Mauk
Staff Sergeant Jessica Mauk is a non-commissioned officer in charge of the patient administration office at Whiteman Air Force Base Medical Group. Recently, she was awarded the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal for serving 190 hours with the Airmen for Children, a group that helps uniformed military members visit local children's hospitals. Inspired by this group, she established her own autonomous branch and organizes events serving 5-20 patients at a time.
Since her arrival to Whiteman, Staff Sergeant Mauk has also worked with children's hospitals in the Kansas City area.
Sunday, August 21 – Doug and Pam Polson
Doug and Pam Polson's son, Jack lost his battle with cancer in 2009. Wanting to continue Jack's own fundraising events that he did while he was fighting cancer, they started the Jack & Coke Bike Ride to support the American Cancer Society and Relay for Life. Each May, over 300 riders enjoy a scenic bike ride through the Northland with great stops and a barbeque lunch after the ride, with all proceeds benefitting the non-profit organizations.