CLEVELAND -- When Terry Francona took home the American League's Manager of the Year Award for his work with the Indians last season, the organization wanted to come up with a way to honor other leaders in and around Northeast Ohio.
The Indians created the Mentor of the Year Award and named Jeff Haynes the first recipient on Friday afternoon. Haynes is the Broadway Club Director of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Cleveland and has been involved with the organization in three different cities for more than a decade.
"It's a great honor," said Haynes, who has worked in Cleveland for the past eight years. "What I've tried to get out of this whole thing is really just getting more awareness to volunteering and mentoring. There are so many kids and so many people out there that need help. If anything, if this brings more awareness, that's a great thing.
"It was totally unexpected. When I was originally nominated, I couldn't believe it. I was very humbled by it. More or less, I'm just trying to draw awareness to this whole thing. This is all just a bonus."
Haynes won the award following a fan vote on indians.com, edging out former Plan Dealer columnist Maragaret Bernstein and Facing History New Tech High School principal Marc Engoglia. Their interviews can still be viewed at indians.com/mentors.
Cleveland received more than 100 nominations after asking fans to submit candidates among people making a difference in the lives of others in their community.
Honorable mention selections included Brent Shelly (dean of students at Minds Matter Cleveland), Marsha Pavlenda (teacher at Midview Local Schools), Michael Dies (president of West Akron Baseball League), Hilary Parsons (counselor at Cleveland Clinic Children's Hospital), Ryan Wolfe (coach for Northeast Ohio Challenger Baseball), Edie Deyarmin (advocate for disabled/disadvantaged veterans) and Tim Able (coach for UpWard Basketball).
Haynes was presented with the award by Francona and team president Mark Shapiro during the Indians' annual Town Hall event in downtown Cleveland on Friday.
"We had a surprisingly large number of incredible leaders and mentors, coaches and teachers, in our community here nominated," Shapiro said. "Talking to Jeff, [I asked] him, 'What message do you think is most important to get out?' He just said, 'What I want to get out is the impact it can make, how it can impact kids' lives. ... We want to celebrate that.
"Jeff's a shining example. We're excited to celebrate him, but we're even more excited to just bring a light to the power of mentorship and what that means to our community and society."
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian.