Jon and Jacklyn Gray are making an impact in the community through Locks of Love and by supporting rescue dogs with special needs.
On April 11, Jon Gray donated eight inches of his hair to Locks of Love, a public, non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children who have medical long-term hair loss. Stylist Megan Duran of Floyd's 99 Barber Shop performed the cut at Coors Field, where Jon was supported by his wife, Jacklyn, Pitching Coaches Steve Foster and Darren Holmes, Manager Bud Black, and numerous media outlets. Gray hopes for this to be a regular occurrence as he will grow out his hair again and plans to donate to similar organizations in the future.
Along with donating hair, the couple has been dedicated to their passion for helping rescue animals with special needs for the past several years. "There are so many animals out there that not only are in rescues, but also have special needs, making it harder for them to find a home" says Jacklyn. The Grays have rescued three purebred Yorkshire Terriers: Bentley Popcorn Gray, Sophie Shadow Gray and Trunks Barnaby Gray, all of which have special needs. Unfortunately, Bentley passed on Jan. 13, 2016. In an effort to raise awareness of rescue dogs and encourage adoption, Jon and Jacklyn Gray will be involved in this year's Bark at the Park event at Coors Field on Aug. 16, where they will serve as judges for the parade. $1 from every Bark at the Park ticket sold benefits Tony La Russa's Animal Rescue Foundation, so get your tickets today!
Ian Desmond and Mike Dunn are both new to the Rockies organization, and along with their skills on the baseball field, they are bringing long-supported personal causes along with them as well. Desmond is involved with #EndNF, a movement to end neurofibromatosis, while Dunn hosts various military families throughout the season.
Desmond became involved with raising awareness for neurofibromatosis a few years ago when he had just joined Twitter and was receiving prayer requests from a young boy named Ethan Brown. Desmond wrote to him on Twitter, they began talking and he learned that Brown had neurofibromatosis. At the time, Desmond did not know what the medical condition was but quickly learned it is a genetic disorder that attacks the body by causing tumors to form in the brain, spinal cord and nerves. There is currently no cure for the disorder. On April 11, Desmond hosted a group of neurofibromatosis fighters at Coors Field from the Children's Tumor Foundation Colorado Branch and will continue to host similar groups throughout the season.
Dunn has supported military families dating back to when he was a member of Miami Marlins in 2011 as part of their Shake-A-Leg program. Dunn decided to enhance his personal involvement by developing a program with various military support organizations. Now, with the Colorado Rockies, he will continue this program, which includes hosting individuals and families with military ties at select Monday home games. Dunn first hosted military guests on Monday, April 10, and will do the same for a total of eight games this season. These families are provided BP passes, game tickets and they get to meet with Dunn prior to the game, where he presents them with a commemorative coin exclusive to the program.
The Rockies Front Office gives their time to the community by participating in various volunteer programs throughout the season and offseason.
On March 20, members of the front office participated in a one-on-one tutoring experience with students from Columbine Elementary through Reading Partners. Reading Partners makes a difference in the lives of children who struggle with reading, one month to 2.5 years behind grade level.
In what has become an annual tradition, the Rockies and longtime partner Denver Rescue Mission teamed up the day after Opening Day to clean up the Ballpark Neighborhood. Over 70 volunteers participated in the cleanup and after it was all said and done, LoDo was ready for 80 more home games.
On April 19, members of the front office spent a couple hours of their morning engaging in conversation and laughing with residents from the Cedars Health Center, an assisted living facility, through Bessie's Hope. Bessie's Hope facilitates nursing home and assisted living visits for community organizations and corporations.
On March 3, 23 Children's Hospital Colorado cancer patients, along with 15 of their caregivers, arrived in Scottsdale, Ariz., for a fun-filled weekend. This year's trip, funded by the Jason Motte Foundation, kicked off with Motte and his wife, Caitlin, meeting the kids at their hotel for a pizza party. The following day, the group arrived at Salt River Fields, received personalized jerseys and were able to hang out and chat with Motte, catcher Tony Wolters and outfielder Chris Denorfia prior to Saturday's game against the Mariners. They were treated to lunch on the Rockies' patio and enjoyed a beautiful day of Spring Training baseball. On Sunday morning, before they made their way to the airport to head back to Denver, the entire Rockies team took time to meet with the patients. The children got autographs and took photos with all of their favorite players.
Though Motte is no longer with the Rockies — now a member of the Atlanta Braves — his contributions to the club will and these young cancer patients to be felt for years to come.
During Spring Training, the Rockies community outreach continues in Arizona, and this year, on March 17, the Rockies partnered with the Arizona Diamondbacks to put on a Play Ball baseball clinic at Lehi Field in Mesa, Ariz. Catcher Tom Murphy and pitcher Chris Rusin participated in the clinic, teaching young players the fundamentals of the game including baserunning, hitting, outfield defense, throwing and more.
Play Ball is Major League Baseball's initiative to encourage youth baseball and softball participation in an effort to inspire healthy living and grow the game of baseball. Throughout Spring Training and during the regular season there are various Play Ball initiatives in each MLB market. The weekend of June 3-4, 2017, will be Play Ball Weekend across Major League Baseball, but due to the Rockies being on the road that weekend, Play Ball Weekend will be celebrated June 16-18 in Colorado, featuring various clinics, in-stadium giveaways, pregame opportunities and more. For more on the Play Ball program, visit www.playball.org.
The Colorado Rockies Home Run for the Homeless 5K Run/Walk will take place at Coors Field on June 4!
Run or walk through the LoDo neighborhood on a scenic route that finishes up with a lap around the Coors Field warning track. Stick around for the post-event party on the main concourse as well as prize drawings, free T-shirts and game tickets for race participants. There's a Kids Fun Run for little Rockies fans as well!
While the event is a fun and memorable time for participants, there is also a strong community tie to the Rockies 5K. Proceeds from the event benefit Colorado Rockies Charities and Denver's Road Home, the city's longstanding program with the mission to end homelessness in Denver.
For registration and information on the Colorado Rockies Home Run for the Homeless 5K, visit Rockies.com/5k.