The Bob Feller Act of Valor Award Foundation Announces 2019 Baseball Honorees
Honorees to Join at Seventh Annual Award Ceremony in D.C. on November 14th, 2019
The Bob Feller Act of Valor Award Foundation is excited to announce the winners of the 2019 Bob Feller Act of Valor Award. The awards honor the legacy of National Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller, who made the selfless decision to put his career in the major leagues on hold so he could serve our country. Each honoree possesses the values, integrity, and dedication to serving our country that Bob Feller himself displayed. Award winners will be honored at the seventh annual award ceremony in Washington D.C. on November 14th, 2019.
The awards recognize 7 recipients – one National Baseball Hall of Famer, one current MLB player, one U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer, two peer-to-peer mentoring awards (one for afloat command and one for ashore command), one military children award, and the United States Marine Corps (USMC) Jerry Coleman award.
The Honorees are: National Baseball Hall of Fame–Randy Johnson; Major League Baseball–Ian Kennedy; U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer – Logistics Specialist Chief Jairo N. Guity; Jerry Coleman Award – Gunnery Sergeant Joshua A. MacMillan; Peer-to-Peer Award (Afloat) – USS AMERICA (LHA 6) Junior Enlisted Association (JEA); Peer-to-Peer Award (Ashore) – Training Support Center Great Lakes Chapter of the Coalition of Sailors Against Destructive Decisions (CSADD), and Military Children Award – Mia Owen.
An ardent supporter of the U.S. military, National Baseball Hall of Famer Randy Johnson has participated in over 40 international trips with the United Service Organizations (USO). Johnson has also visited troops while also supporting initiatives to fight homelessness and befriending local Arizona youths with life‐threatening medical issues. “Honoring our men and women in uniform is what it is all about. Bob Feller served our country with honor. Accepting the Bob Feller Act of Valor Award is Humbling to say the least,” Johnson says.
Ian Kennedy, from the Kansas City Royals, and his wife Allison host numerous community groups at Royals‘ games that support military, veterans and law enforcement. The Kennedys have made personal financial donations to Folds of Honor, Honor Flight Network of KC, SAFE and the USO. “I consider being named the Bob Feller Act of Valor MLB Award recipient the highest and most humbling honor of my baseball career. My wife and I feel as though the experiences we have been able to provide for military families are a very small way we could express our tremendous gratitude. Without their selfless actions, my teammates and I are not able to play a sport we love,” Kennedy says.
Logistics Specialist Chief Jairo N. Guity, awarded the U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer Award, currently serves as the Supply Department Leading Chief Petty Officer for the Navy’s Flight Demonstration Team, the Blue Angels. He has encouraged his Sailors and Marines to continue their education and to give back to their community, generating 1,300 volunteer hours that resulted in the award of six Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medals and two Navy League Outstanding Military Volunteer Awards. Chief Guity volunteers his time with the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest and has dedicated more than 400 hours to the Navy Soccer Child Youth Programs by serving as a coach and mentor for over 110 youth. Upon notification that he would be honored by the Bob Feller Award Foundation, Chief Guity’s humility was on display, “I just always try my best to do right by my Sailors and Marines. I had a lot of excellent Chiefs throughout the years and every day I try to emulate their best qualities. It is in my nature to help. I love to help people.”
Gunnery Sergeant Joshua A. MacMillan is the recipient of the Jerry Coleman Award, which honors a Marine Noncommissioned Officer possessing outstanding leadership and unyielding support for the Marine Corps and the United States of America. Gunnery Sergeant MacMillan has completed three combat tours, two in Afghanistan and one in Syria, and currently serves with the 3rd Battalion 6th Marines based out of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. In addition to leading and mentoring Marines, Gunnery Sergeant MacMillan has dedicated himself to bettering his community by supporting community and youth events. He has volunteered countless hours in support of the Marine Corps Marathon, i9 Sports Flag Football, Semper Fit Division Marine Corps Community Services events, Back Swamp and Fountaintown Fire Department Community events, and Camp Schwab and Mayor of Henoko District, Nago City, Okinawa, Japan Community Cleanup events. His efforts have had a tremendously positive impact on others and strengthened the Marine Corps relationships with local communities, including bilateral relationships between the United States Marines and their Okinawan hosts. About the Jerry Coleman Award, Gunnery Sergeant MacMillan remarked, “It truly is an honor to be selected to receive the Jerry Coleman award. It is an amazing feeling to be recognized and receive this award on behalf of all the service members who dedicate their time to bettering their communities by volunteering. Selflessness goes a long way.”
This year’s recipients in the Peer-to-Peer Afloat and Ashore categories are the USS AMERICA (LHA 6) Junior Enlisted Association (JEA) and Training Support Center Great Lakes Chapter of the Coalition of Sailors Against Destructive Decisions (CSADD). The Peer-to-Peer Mentoring Awards honor groups of junior Sailors that have excelled in encouraging other Sailors to embody the Navy’s core values of Honor, Courage, and Commitment, and have worked together to promote peer-to-peer mentorship and reduce destructive personal decision-making and behaviors.
Upon learning that the USS AMERICA (LHA 6) Junior Enlisted Association would be awarded the Peer-to-Peer Mentoring (Afloat) Award, the association’s Vice President, Intelligence Specialist 2nd Class Ariel Macon declared, “We want to be there for each other amongst the ranks and to push each other to strive for something bigger and better. To receive an award named after a person who was so resilient, who did not stop and would not stop for anything, means everything.”
After learning that the Training Support Center Great Lakes Chapter of CSADD would receive the Bob Feller Award, Electronics Technician 3rd Class Ian A. Walters said, “We were very excited when we learned we won the award. Looking back at the volunteer work that we did to be recognized, it didn’t seem like work; we enjoyed contributing to the community. Being recognized with the Bob Feller Award tells us that the job we are doing is making a difference, and that makes us feel good.”
This year’s recipient of the Military Children Award, Mia Owen, age 13, lives in Swansboro, North Carolina and attends Swansboro Middle School. Her parents are United States Marine Corps COL David Owen and Lisa Fitzpatrick. COL Owen has served with distinction for 28 years and is currently assigned to Joint Staff J-3 Operations, Pentagon, Washington, D.C. The Military Children Award is for children whose parents serve proudly in our United States Military. The Award is given as part of the foundation’s educational outreach to the younger generation. Children ages 11 to 18 were asked to research and submit an essay or video explaining how the young person was influenced by one of the 37 National Baseball Hall of Famers who served in WWII and how they utilized the lessons learned in overcoming their own adversities and challenges as a military child. Mia chose to write about National Baseball Hall of Famer, Ted Lyons stating, “At first I selected him because my dad is a Marine, and Ted Lyons joined the Marines during World War II. I’m proud of my dad being a Marine and felt like this could be some of my personal support for him and the Marine Corps. Fortunately, as time went on, I found out more about Ted Lyons and realized that there was even more reason to pick him. He is as charismatic, kind, interesting, and not to mention broke pitching records!”
Previous baseball winners of the award include National Baseball Hall of Famers Yogi Berra, Tommy Lasorda, George Brett, Rod Carew, Tom Seaver and Johnny Bench plus MLB players Justin Verlander, Nick Swisher, Jonathan Lucroy, Brad Ziegler, Darren O’Day and Sean Doolittle. Previous Navy, Peer to Peer, and Marine Corps honorees are Senior Chief Hospital Corpsman Garth Sinclair, Senior Chief Petty Officer Carl Thompson, Chief Petty Officer Genell Cody, Senior Chief Petty Officer Christopher Beeding, Chief Petty Officer Edmundo Brantes, AOC (AW/SW/IW) Shawn M. Wingle; and USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70), HOPPER Information Services Center, USS CONSTITUTION, Unmanned Patrol Squadron ONE NINE (VUP-19); Training Support Center Great Lakes, U.S. Naval Mobile Construction Battalion FIVE (NMCB 5); and and Staff Sergeant Rene Segura, USMC First Sergeant Marshall Cleveland, USMC, Staff Sergeant Adam Plambeck and Gunnery Sergeant Johnathan S. Rose.
Peter Fertig created The Bob Feller Act of Valor Award with the support of the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial, the Cleveland Indians, Major League Baseball, the National Baseball Hall of Fame, the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association, and the gracious consent of Mrs. Anne Feller, the San Diego Padres, and the family of Jerry Coleman.
Please visit our website actofvaloraward.org to register for the limited event and to learn more about our honorees.