The Orioles today announced a $300,000 pledge to local charities in support of the club’s Birdland Community Heroes program. The donation total includes a combined pledge of $100,000 from the Orioles Charitable Foundation to the 2018 season’s Birdland Community Heroes’ related charities, as well as $200,000 to the charities of those Heroes honored in prior seasons. On Opening Day, Thursday, March 29, the Orioles are welcoming back all previous Birdland Community Heroes to take part in a special pregame ceremony.
Launched during the 2016 regular season, the Birdland Community Heroes program recognizes community heroes who have inspired others through their spirited commitment to extend a hand in charity, service, hope and harmony. This recognition honors the heroism of members of the 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, protect, and improve the lives of others who are most in need, around the corner or around the globe.
During Opening Day ceremonies, approximately 60 previous Birdland Community Heroes will be on hand at Oriole Park to participate in an on-field ceremony celebrating their contributions to the Birdland community. Orioles Executive Vice President John Angelos will present a $200,000 check to the group of prior honorees, which will be evenly distributed among all 2016-17 Birdland Community Heroes’ associated charities.
“Every community cause needs a hero advocating for it, and every heroic advocate needs support in bringing attention to his or her dedicated vision,” said Angelos. “All of us in the Orioles organization are privileged to direct our platforms, games, resources, and the American musical tradition of our seventh-inning stretch to honor those heroes who work tirelessly and selflessly among us to help their local communities in need.”
Again this season, Birdland Community Heroes will be recognized during every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday home game at Oriole Park beginning on Saturday, March 31, when Lt. Col. Jason Pasley will be honored for bringing the “Stop the Bleed” campaign to Baltimore City, empowering the public to aid in providing immediate care to life threatening bleeding. Lt. Col. Pasley has been deployed twice as the Trauma Director at the largest Air Force Hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan. Locally, he works as a trauma surgeon at the RA Cowley Shock Trauma Center solidifying the military-civilian partnership in the area.
In conjunction with the fourth annual Kids’ Opening Day on Sunday, April 1, the Orioles will recognize Liza Goldberg as Sunday’s Birdland Hero. Goldberg, a 10th grader from Columbia, Md., has been doing remote sensing research at the NASA Goddard’s Biospheric Sciences Lab since she was 14 years old. She is currently working to establish an Electronic Coastal Monitoring and Assessment Program (EcoMap) to map and monitor mangrove vulnerability in East Africa and around the world and to encourage sustainable use of ecosystem resources for ecological and economic benefit.
As part of the Great Americana Weekends, the club will continue the tradition of celebrating American principles and ideals with live performances of classic Americana songs during the seventh-inning stretch featuring “This Land Is Your Land” on Fridays, “America, The Beautiful” on Saturdays, and “God Bless America” on Sundays. On Saturday, Tom Zepp, a Maryland resident and Towson University graduate will perform the national anthem and America The Beautiful. Elle Walasavage, a 12-year-old from Schuylkill Haven, Pa. will perform the national anthem and God Bless America during the seventh-inning stretch on Sunday.
Since the program’s inception, the Orioles have honored 80 heroes at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. A list of each hero and their related charity can be found in the attached document.
In recognition of the Birdland Community Heroes program, and the way in which it has been strongly embraced by Orioles fans, Oriole Park at Camden Yards was recently named one of the 10 nicest places in America by Reader’s Digest. The Orioles are dedicated to welcoming, honoring, and celebrating their fans, and are actively seeking nominations for Birdland Community Heroes for the 2018 season. For a complete list of heroes or to nominate someone who inspires you, visit www.orioles.com/heroes.