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The Official Site of the Atlanta Braves

2016 Community Heroes Week Honorees

Hal Simpson - Georgia Blind Sports Association

Hal Simpson is a devoted father, community member, and sports enthusiast. Hal's son is visually impaired, and encouraged him to create the GA Blind Sports Association. The GA Blind Sports Association provides visually impaired athletes the opportunity to participate in adapted sports. The Atlanta Braves Foundation and FOX Sports South surprised Hal, visually impaired students at Parkview High School, and the local beep baseball team, the Atlanta Eclipse, at a beep baseball clinic at the school. Braves players Gordon Beckham, Nick Markakis, Jace Peterson and Anthony Recker, along with FOX Sports South broadcaster and Braves Alumni, Brian Jordan, learned how to play Goal Ball and Beep Baseball with the visually impaired high school students. Following the clinic, everyone gathered for a group lunch.

Andee Poulos - Andee's Army

Andee is the manager of her school's softball team. An avid Braves fan, each year she spends her birthday at a Braves game. In 2011, Andee suffered a massive stroke and did not walk, talk, eat or drink for 20 months. The foundation that bears her name is Andee's Army and raises money to help families with children who have suffered brain and spinal injuries. The Atlanta Braves Foundation and FOX Sports South surprised Andee at Holy Innocents Episcopal School in front of her classmates. Following the surprise, Atlanta Braves players and FOX Sports South broadcasters helped Andee host a bake sale to support Andee's Army. Members of the senior class were invited into the Braves-themed Senior Commons room to purchase delicious baked goods from Andee and her helpers - Braves players Tyrell Jenkins, Madison Younginer, Freddie Freeman, Jason Hursh, and Ender Inciarte and FOX Sports South broadcasters Kelsey Wingert and Chip Carey.

Zack Leitz - The Backpack Project

Zack, a junior at the University of Georgia, established The Backpack Project, whose mission is to ease the burden of homelessness by making backpacks filled with food, clothes, and toiletries and distributing them to the homeless. The Atlanta Braves Foundation and FOX Sports South invited Zack to the ballpark, where he thought he was packing bags with front office employees. Atlanta Braves players Matt Kemp, Chase d'Arnaud, Joel De La Cruz, Mauricio Cabrera, Jose Ramirez, Coach Bo Porter and his wife Stacy, and FOX Sports South broadcasters Jim Powell and Kacey Wingert, surprised Zack and his team, and helped stuff backpacks full of clothes and toiletries. The group traveled to the Salvation Army to serve lunch, eat with the men and women, and distribute the backpacks.

Gino Vizzi - P4 Foundation

Gino, a high school baseball player, suffers from a chronic form of leukemia. Gino founded the P4 Foundation, a nonprofit that awards families with children affected by cancer by providing them with financial and educational resources. Gino was unable to attend his Community Heroes surprise in August but was honored later in the season. Gino received a customized jersey from Braves player Chase d'Arnaud and the two headed to the batting cages to take batting practice together. Braves players Brandon Snyder and Blake Lalli. Braves players Brandon Snyder and Blake Lalli, and Bullpen Coach, Eddie Perez, presented the P4 Foundation with a check on the field.