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2018 Birdland Community Heroes

The Orioles Birdland Community Heroes program honors and recognizes community heroes who inspire us through their spirited commitment to extend a hand in charity, service, hope, and harmony. This recognition honors the heroism of members of our extended Orioles community from all walks of life, occupations, and diverse backgrounds living in our region, our country, and abroad, who have distinguished themselves by selflessly working or volunteering in fields that care for, serve, teach, protect, and improve the lives of others, around the corner or around the globe, who are most in need.

The program honors designated Birdland Community Heroes for every weekend home game throughout the season. Selected honorees each receive four game tickets, VIP parking, an award medal, and the opportunity be featured during an in-game ceremony on the video board at the conclusion of the fifth inning. During each Birdland Americana Weekend, the Orioles continue the tradition of celebrating American principles and ideals with the playing of classic, American songs during the seventh-inning stretch including "This Land Is Your Land" on Fridays, "America, The Beautiful" on Saturdays, and "God Bless America" on Sundays.

Below, meet our 2018 Birdland Heroes and seventh-inning stretch performers. 

Birdland Americana Weekend - September 28-30

Friday, September 28

The Orioles will honor Col. Ed Rothstein, retired Garrison Commander of Fort George G. Meade, and board member of the Fort Meade Alliance Foundation, as Friday's Birdland Community Hero. Rothstein oversaw Fort Meade's raising of over $3.6 million in funds for the Fort Meade Resiliency and Education Center. The center will serve as the hub for various services military members in and around Fort Meade will utilize for many years to come. Upon retiring from his role as Garrison Commander, Rothstein joined the Fort Meade Alliance Foundation Board to help take the project from concept to reality. The Orioles Charitable Foundation will also make a $2,500 donation to the Fort Meade Alliance Foundation.

Saturday, September 29

Antonia Fasanelli, Executive Director of the Homeless Persons Representation Project, will be recognized as Saturday's Birdland Community Hero. For over 10 years, Fasanelli has led the Homeless Persons Representation Project, which provides free civil legal aid and advocacy for and with persons struggling with homelessness. During her tenure, HPRP has become a nationally-recognized model for providing civil legal aid and advocacy for and with persons experiencing or at risk of homelessness. The Orioles Charitable Foundation will also make a $2,500 donation to the Homeless Persons Representation Project.

Sunday, September 30

Director of POWER House Community Center at Living Classrooms Foundation, Colin Jones, will be honored as Sunday's Birdland Community Hero. As a lifelong resident of Perkins Homes, the largest public housing community in Baltimore City, and director of POWER House community center, Jones is leading the implementation of a community-based approach to disrupting the cycle of poverty and decreasing crime in an area of the city that is commonly plagued by low educational achievement, high unemployment, drug use, health issues, and violence. The Orioles Charitable Foundation will also make a $2,500 donation to Living Classrooms Foundation.

Birdland Americana Weekend - September 14-16

Friday, September 14

The Orioles will honor Abigayle Levin & Lexi Thomas, founders of Flowers for Powers as Friday's Birdland Community Heroes. After founding Flowers For Powers five years ago, Levin and Thomas have delivered flowers and smiles to thousands of people in need. They are focused on delivering flowers to infusion centers, hospice centers, nursing homes, and in-home patients, to cheer up those in need. The Orioles Charitable Foundation will also make a $2,500 donation to Flowers for Powers.

Saturday, September 15

Dr. Julie R. Brahmer, Director of the Thoracic Oncology Program at The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, and Board Member for the LUNGevity Foundation, will be recognized as Saturday's Birdland Community Hero. In addition to being a global thought leader in the emerging field of immunotherapy, Dr. Brahmer has served on LUNGevity's esteemed Scientific Advisory Board since 2013. She also serves as a LUNGevity Foundation Peer Reviewer who lends her scientific expertise to help review the letters of intent and applications that are submitted to the foundation by researchers. Dr. Brahmer volunteers at various Breathe Deep walks in the area, speaking with participants, and walking alongside survivors and their families. The Orioles Charitable Foundation will also make a $2,500 donation to the LUNGevity Foundation. 

Sunday, September 16

Executive Director of Catholic Charities of Baltimore, Bill McCarthy, will be honored as Sunday's Birdland Community Hero. For over nine years, McCarthy has served as the executive director, leading an agency of more than 2,000 employees and 17,000 volunteers who provide care and services for people who live in poverty, older Marylanders, children and families in crisis, immigrants, and individuals with intellectual disabilities. Each year, across its 80 programs and 200 locations, McCarthy helps to lead Catholic Charities in serving over 160,000 individuals and families. The Orioles Charitable Foundation will also make a $2,500 donation to Catholic Charities of Baltimore.

Birdland Americana Weekend - August 24-26

Friday, August 24

The Orioles honor first responders from the Capital Gazette shooting as Friday's Birdland Community Heroes. Members of the Anne Arundel County Police Department, the Annapolis Police Department, the Anne Arundel County Sheriff's Office, and the Annapolis Fire Department were the first public safety officials to arrive on scene of the active shooter incident on June 28. These police officers, sheriff's deputies, and fire marshals responded within 60 seconds of the first 911 call. They entered into the building facing unknown danger, without hesitation, to confront the suspect, protect the innocent, and render aid to victims. Their selfless action undoubtedly saved lives. Although they are unable to be present for Friday's game, the Orioles will also recognize the Anne Arundel County and Annapolis Fire Departments who responded to the scene and provided mission support and tactical and emergency services. The Orioles will also make a $2,500 donation to the Capital Gazette Families Fund in support of the Birdland Community Heroes program.

Saturday August 25 - Doubleheader Game 1

Leah Pemberton, Chief Program Officer at Building STEPS, is recognized as Saturday's Birdland Community Hero. Building STEPS equips Baltimore City students with the tools to propel them to college and career success. In nine years with the organization, Pemberton has brought over 300 new students into the program, helping them earn college degrees, and has created more opportunities for students to participate in activities which teach professionalism and prepare students for college. The Orioles will also make a $2,500 donation to Building STEPS, in support of the Birdland Community Heroes program.

Saturday August 25 - Doubleheader Game 2

In coordination with the OriolesREACH Food & Funds Drive, Roberta Tunstall, a volunteer with the Maryland Food Bank, is recognized as the Birdland Community Hero on Saturday evening. For more than 11 years, she has volunteered in the community kitchen, packing meals made by the food bank's FoodWork students; preparing snacks for the Summer or Supper club schools; and sorting incoming donated food or meals for seniors or for emergency food assistance needs. In 2017 alone, Tunstall volunteered more than 250 hours at the food bank. The Orioles will also make a $2,500 donation to the Maryland Food Bank, in support of the Birdland Community Heroes program.

Sunday, August 26

Stewardship Officer with Catholic Relief Services, Tiffany Jackson, is being honored as Sunday's Birdland Community Hero. For over 17 years, Jackson has worked for Catholic Relief Services, the international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. Jackson has worked in both the finance and charitable giving divisions, and three departments within the agency. In her current role as Stewardship Officer, Jackson ensures that gifts are designated to programs that align with the intentions specified by supporters. The Orioles will also make a $2,500 donation to Catholic Relief Services in support of the Birdland Community Heroes program.

Birdland Americana Weekend - August 10-12

Friday, August 10

Chief Roman Clark Sr., a 41-year veteran of the Baltimore City Fire Department, is honored for his passion and dedication for helping and serving the citizens of Baltimore. Chief Clark currently serves as the Aide to the Chief of the Fire Department, a position he has held under the past five Fire Chiefs. Prior to his current appointment, Chief Clark has served as a firefighter/EMT, Lieutenant, and Fire Captain. The Orioles will make a $2,500 donation to the Baltimore City Fire Foundation, Inc.


Seventh-Inning Stretch Performance:
Saturday, August 11

Briah Barksdale is honored for bringing messages of kindness to peers, teachers, and strangers alike. Barksdale, who graduated from Glen Burnie High School in the spring, brought her message of kindness to her classmates through a capstone project, "The Kindness Campaign," for the school's BioMedical Allied Health program. Barksdale began the process during her junior year by organizing events and competitions to promote kindness and leaving notes of support for classmates throughout the school. She will be attending University of Maryland, Baltimore County in the fall where she will study biology as part of the Meyerhoff Scholars Program. The Orioles will make a $2,500 donation to the Rotary Club of Glen Burnie Foundation.


Seventh-Inning Stretch Performance:
Sunday, August 12

The Orioles recognize Meg Ducey, Director of Development and Marketing at the Franciscan Center, Inc., as Sunday's Birdland Community Hero. For more than five years, Ducey has devoted her time to reducing hunger and increasing self-sufficiency in Baltimore by providing programming designed to help people in crisis achieve stability, and empower them with the tools and resources necessary to built self-sufficient lives at the Franciscan Center. The Orioles will make a $2,500 donation to the Franciscan Center as part of the program.


Seventh-Inning Stretch Performance:

Birdland Americana Weekend - July 27-29

Friday, July 27

Director of Veterinary Medicine at the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter, Inc. (BARCS), Dr. Bobbie Mammato is being recognized as Friday's Birdland Community Hero. Dr. Mammato, who was the first-ever veterinarian to work at the shelter, has helped to treat more than 100,000 homeless animals over her 11-year tenure with BARCS. In addition to the nearly 250 animals directly under her team's care at the shelter on any given day, she is also responsible for up to 600 animals in BARCS' Foster Care Program. The Orioles will make a $2,500 donation to BARCS as part of the Birdland Community Heroes Program.


Seventh-Inning Stretch Performance:
Saturday, July 28

Jeff Smith is being honored for dedicating his time and energy to give young people an opportunity to play baseball and learn life-long lessons. Smith served for 10 years as the President of Arbutus Little League, and established the Challenger Baseball program at Arbutus. Now in its fifth year, the program annually gives over 25 children and young adults with physical and developmental disabilities the opportunity to play baseball. Smith recently received the John Salony Award given by Oriole Advocates Challenger Baseball for his contributions in support of Challenger Baseball. The Orioles will make a $2,500 donation to Oriole Advocates Charitable Foundation to benefit the Challenger League.


Seventh-Inning Stretch Performance:
Sunday, July 29

The Orioles recognize Kimberly O'Brien, of KidsPeace, as Sunday's Birdland Community Hero. O'Brien has provided therapeutic foster care services with KidsPeace for the past two years, committing her time, energy, and passion to youth in need. Because of her dedication, O'Brien is nominated for the 2018 KidsPeace Maryland Foster Parent of the Year Award. The Orioles will make a $2,500 donation to KidsPeace Foster Care as part of the Birdland Community Heroes Program.


Seventh-Inning Stretch Performance:

Birdland Community Hero - Thursday, July 26

Marian Vessels, former director of the Mid-Atlantic ADA Center, a TransCen, Inc. program, was recognized for her commitment to people with disabilities and her efforts to bring about awareness of disability education. 

Birdland Americana Weekend - July 13-15

Friday, July 13

Laurie Moser is being recognized as Friday's Birdland Community Hero for her efforts to strengthen work zone safety. Moser became a work zone safety avocate following the loss of her husband to a work zone crash in June 2007. Moser works tirelessly with the legislature in Annapolis to toughen laws, and to spread the word about work zone safety to help keep workers and drivers safe. The Orioles will make a $2,500 donation to the American Traffic Safety Services Foundation's National Work Zone Memorial Fund.


Seventh-Inning Stretch Performance:
Saturday, July 14

Founder and Executive Director of the Casey Cares Foundation, Casey Baynes, will be honored as Saturday's Birdland Community Hero. In 2000, Baynes founded Casey Cares, a nonprrofit dedicated to creating little moments and lasting memories to families with critically-ill children. In 2018 alone, Casey Cares will provide more than 17,000 program activities to local families. The Orioles will make a $2,500 donation to Casey Cares.


Seventh-Inning Stretch Performance:
Sunday, July 15

The Orioles are recognizing Bonnie Carroll, President and Founder of Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), as Sunday's Birdland Community Hero. Carroll is a 2015 recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, a military veteran, and a former White House staffer. She founded TAPS following the death of her husband, Brigadier General Tom Carroll, in an Army C-12 plane crash in November of 1992. TAPS, the leading national Military Service Organization, provides compassionate care, casework assistance, and 24/7/365 emotional support for anyone impacted by the death of a military loved one. The Orioles will make a $2,500 donation to TAPS.


Seventh-Inning Stretch Performance:

Birdland Americana Weekend - June 29-July 1

Friday, June 29

President of the National Federation of the Blind of Maryland, Sharon  Maneki is recognized as a Birdland Community Hero. For over three decades, Maneki has tirelessly served blind and low-vision Marylanders, advocating for the blind and their families, working to provide them with necessary resources and opportunities. The Orioles will make a $2,500 donation to the National Federation of the Blind of Maryland.


Seventh-Inning Stretch Performance:
Saturday, June 30

Fallen Baltimore County Police Officer Amy Caprio served as a Baltimore County police officer for the last four years before being killed in the line of duty while responding to an incident in Perry Hall, Md., on May 21, 2018. Her husband, Tim Caprio, will accept the award on her behalf and the Orioles will make a $2,500 donation to the Harford County Humane Society in her honor.


Seventh-Inning Stretch Performance:
Sunday, July 1

The Orioles recognized Joe Paska of the USO Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore, as Sunday's Birdland Community Hero. Paska, a retired Army Major, has been volunteering with the USO since 2015, welcoming service members home at the USO BWI Lounge, helping them to adjust to life back home. The Orioles will make a $2,500 donation to the USO Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore BWI Lounge.


Seventh-Inning Stretch Performance:

Birdland Community Hero - June 26

Paulette Moore: Moveable Feast Medical Transportation Driver, who is retiring from Moveable Feast after 18 years with the organization, has worked with thousands of clients, delivering meals, providing transportation to medical appointments, and offering his service, support, and friendship.


Seventh-Inning Stretch Performance:

Birdland Americana Weekend - June 15-17

Friday, June 15

John Frisch; Member of the Board of Directors of Visit Baltimore and the Visit Baltimore Education & Training Foundation, was a founding board chairman and was instrumental in the creation of the organization.


Seventh-Inning Stretch Performance:
Saturday, June 16

Meredith "Smitty" Smith is recognized for his commitment to the Holistic Life Foundation (HLF). Smith has supported HLF's mission since its inception, helping to make it the impactful community-based organization that it is today.


Seventh-Inning Stretch Performance:
Sunday, June 17

Dr. Arthur "Bud" Burnett professor of urology at The James Buchanan Brady Urological Institute at Johns Hopkins Medicine, is recognized as Sunday's Birdland Community Hero. In addition to his work at Johns Hopkins, Dr. Burnett has been a mentor and benefactor of the Baltimore nonprofit, Mentoring Male Teens in the Hood, which works to help young people in Baltimore's toughest neighborhoods.


Seventh-Inning Stretch Performance:

Birdland Americana Weekend - June 1-2

Friday, June 1

Saniya Vashist, Founder of codeHER, and CEO of empower. A River Hill High School (Md.) sophomore, Vasjist provides programming through codeHER in 13 Maryland middle schools, helping to expose young women to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) career options, to empower girls around the world through computer science education, to help to inspire the next generation of technologists, and to build confidence in young girls everywhere. The Orioles will make a $2,500 donation to Junior Achievement of Central Maryland in support of the Birdland Community Heroes program.


Seventh-Inning Stretch Performance:
Saturday, June 2

Andrew Knox, Director of Outreach and Re-Entry at the Boys & Girls Club of Metropolitan Baltimore. Andrew is recognized for his understanding, knowledge, and commitment to the needs of the young men at the Baltimore City Juvenile Justice Center (BCJJC). Knox has assisted hundreds of youth with getting back in school, attaining their GED, securing employment, finding housing, and helping with their spiritual growth. The Orioles will make a $2,500 donation to the Boys & Girls Club of Metropolitan Baltimore in support of the Birdland Community Heroes program.


Seventh-Inning Stretch Performance:

Birdland Americana Weekend - May 11-13

Friday, May 11

Avalon Bristow, Conservation Specialist, and Holly Shields, Mid-Atlantic Education Manager, for their work in Baltimore with the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) - Mid Atlantic. Through their roles with the NWF, Bristow and Shields work in partnership with Baltimore residents to improve the overall quality of the city. Both Bristow and Shields also helped develop the Oriole Garden at Camden Yards. The Orioles will make a $2,500 donation to NWF in support of the Birdland Community Heroes program.

 


Seventh-Inning Stretch Performance:
Saturday, May 12

Robert (Bob) Babb, Head Baseball Coach at Johns Hopkins University. As coach of the Blue Jays for the past 39 seasons, he spearheads the team in supporting many community service on a local and national level. The Orioles will also make a $2,500 donation to Family & Children's Services of Central Maryland in support of the Birdland Community Heroes program.


Seventh-Inning Stretch Performance:
Sunday, May 13

Dr. John Fetting, a breast cancer medical oncologist and Associate Professor of Oncology at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins. Dr. Fetting is an advocate for breast cancer prevention and is fundraising to support breast cancer prevention research at Johns Hopkins. The Orioles will also make a $2,500 donation to The John Fetting Fund for Breast Cancer Prevention Research.


Seventh-Inning Stretch Performance:

Birdland Americana Weekend - April 27-29

Friday, April 27

Michelle Miles; Program Manager from YouthWorks was honored for her work with Baltimore City's summer jobs program (YouthWorks) for residents age 14-21. The Orioles will also make a $2,500 donation to the Baltimore Office of Employment Development in support of the Birdland Community Heroes program.


Seventh-Inning Stretch Performance:
Saturday, April 28

Andy WeltlingerFounder of Baltimore Urban Baseball Association (BUBA), was recognized for his dedication to rejuvenating baseball in Baltimore City, working with former college and professional baseball players to teach, educate, and mentor young players in year-round programming throughout the city. The Orioles will also make a $2,500 donation to BUBA in support of the Birdland Community Heroes program.


Seventh-Inning Stretch Performance:
Sunday, April 29

Bob Wall; Baltimore City Recreation & Parks, Chief of Recreation, was recognized for his help in the community for the past 47 years, developing the Baltimore City Recreation & Parks Play Baseball program and supporting the Orioles RBI Program. The Orioles will also make a $2,500 donation to the Baltimore City Foundation's Youth Recreation Programs, in support of the Birdland Community Heroes program.


Seventh-Inning Stretch Performance:

Birdland Americana Weekend - April 20-22

Friday, April 20

Wyatt Oroke; A humanities teacher at City Springs Elementary/Middle School in Baltimore. Oroke was recently recognized as an inspiring educator on The Ellen Show. The Orioles will also make a $2,500 donation to GLSEN Maryland in support of the Birdland Community Heroes program. GLSEN is the leading national organization championing LGBTQ issues in K-12 education.


Seventh-Inning Stretch Performance:
Saturday, April 21

Barry Williams; Area President of Boy Scouts of America, Williams is being recognized as Saturday's Birdland Community Hero for his 50-plus year commitment to the Boy Scouts. The Orioles will also make a $2,500 donation to the Baltimore Area Council, Boy Scouts of America in support of the Birdland Community Heroes Program.


Seventh-Inning Stretch Performance:
Sunday, April 22

Carmera Thomas; Baltimore Program Manager with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation; for her dedication to bettering the environment in the Maryland area. Thomas is currently working to restore the oyster population in the Patapsco River, collaborating with community groups and youth to connect to the natural resources around Baltimore City.


Seventh-Inning Stretch Performance:

Birdland Americana Weekend - March 31-April 1, 2018

Saturday, March 31

Lieutenant Colonel Jason Pasley; for his work with "Stop the Bleed" Program, an initiative to inform civilians how to recognize life-threatening bleeding and teach steps they can take to help save a life while waiting for trained medics to arrive.


Seventh-Inning Stretch Performance:
Sunday, April 1

Liza Goldberg; for her dedication to protecting natural resources and developing new technology through her work at NASA Goddard's Biospheric Sciences Lab.


Seventh-Inning Stretch Performance: