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2022 Bob Feller Act of Valor Awards

October 10, 2022

Washington DC - The Bob Feller Act of Valor Award Foundation proudly announces Trevor Hoffman, a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and Byron Buxton of the Minnesota Twins as this year’s baseball honorees for the Bob Feller Act of Valor Awards. 

Mr. Hoffman and Mr. Buxton will be joined by Navy and Marine Corps recipients and honored live during the 10th annual Bob Feller Act of Valor Awards Ceremony at the United States Navy Memorial on Wednesday November 16, 2022. The awards honor thelegacy of National Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller, who made the selfless decision to put his career in the major leagues on hold to serve our country. The honorees selected possess the values, integrity, and dedication to serving our country that Bob Feller himself displayed.

 

This year’s program recognizes recipients from the military and Major League Baseball in six categories. In addition, the ceremony will recognize an accomplished intern of the Bob Feller Internship program with the 2022 Fellowship Award. 

 

2022 Award Recipients:

  • National Baseball Hall of Fame Award: Trevor Hoffman, Member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame

  • Major League Baseball Award: Byron Buxton, Minnesota Twins

  • United States Navy Chief Petty Officer Award: Boatswain’s Mate Chief (SW) Kendall D. Burnett, Pre-Commissioning Unit Carl M. Levin (DDG 120)

  • United States Marine Corps, Jerry Coleman Award: Gunnery Sergeant Joseph S White, Battalion Landing Team 2/6, 22ndMarine Expeditionary Unit, II Marine Expeditionary Force

  • Peer-to-Peer, Sea Command Award: USS Constitution Coalition of Sailors Against Destructive Decisions (CSADD)

  • Peer-to-Peer, Ashore Installation Award: Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Coalition of Sailors Against Destructive Decisions (CSADD)

  • Bob Feller Fellowship Award: Blake Schmida, University of Nebraska-Lincoln 

 

National Baseball Hall of Fame Award Honoree

 

Trevor Hoffman

Trevor Hoffman was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2018. An 18-year veteran and long-time closer, he pitched for the Florida Marlins, San Diego Padres and  the Milwaukee Brewers including 15 years with the Padres. Hoffman was the major leagues first player to reach the 500 and  600 save milestone and was the all-time saves leader from 2006 until 2011. He is second on the all-time saves list with 601. Trevor has always been a big supporter of our U.S. Armed Forces. His father, Ed was a U.S. Marine and a Veteran of the Battle of Iwo Jima in World War II. He recently participated in the Padres Alumni softball game where participants consisted of U.S. Navy SEALS, U.S. Navy Special Warfare Combatant – Craft Crewman and combat support personnel. In 2017 he funded the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation Trevor Hoffman Scholarship during the “Salute to the Military“ Family Day held at Petco Park. He has also participated in several activities such as celebrating the raising of the morning colors at Marine Corps Air Station in Miramar, California and served as honorary chairman of Fleet Week San Diego in 2012. “As the son of a Marine, I understand the sacrifice of our true heroes,” said Padres Hall of Famer Trevor Hoffman.  “I am beyond humbled to receive the Bob Feller Act of Valor Award.  Mr. Feller was not only a baseball great, but a great American.” 

 

Major League Baseball Award Honoree

Byron Buxton

Byron has used his platform to support military service members and their families throughout Twins Territory. His career-long commitment to the military community highlights his personal values of service and integrity.

Byron has demonstrated exemplary on-field performance since making his Major League debut with the Minnesota Twins in 2015. Additionally, he has been recognized twice (2017 and 2019) with the MLBPAA Twins Heart and Hustle Award for his dedication to the game and to the community.

Beyond his performance on the field, Byron has been a leader in the Twins community for his outreach to those who serve our country. Byron’s older brother, Felton, serves in the U.S. Navy, so Byron understands and values the sacrifices that military service members and their families make. Byron and his wife, Lindsey, continually seek new ways to provide memorable opportunities for military families and thank them for their service, like inviting members of the Minnesota National Guard to play catch on the field.

This season Byron continues his Buxton’s Battalion program for the fourth year in a row. Families of service members are invited to Target Field every Tuesday for a special batting practice viewing session, a meet and greet, and tickets to that evening’s game. While the format looked slightly different in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic (personalized videos were shared instead of in-person meetings), Byron is excited to have the program being back in fully swing this year. He was also nominated for the MLB’s 2022 Roberto Clemente Award. “I am incredibly honored and humbled to receive the Bob Feller Act of Valor Award,” Buxton said. “Service – to team, family, community, and country – is a value that I hold close to my heart and being able to support and celebrate those who serve is incredibly important to me and my family. It’s impossible for me to excel on the field without the sacrifice they make off the field, and I’m proud to be able to give back however I can.”

 

Byron Buxton was selected among a group of 10 in MLB that have shown exemplary support of our service men and women, including: Terry Francona/CLE; Steven Matz/STL; Mike Yastrzemski/SFG; Chris Sale/BOST; Carlos Carrasco/NYM; Justin Turner/LAD; Josh Hader/SD; Christian Yelich/MILW and Mike Trout/LAA. 

 

Military Award Honorees

U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer Award

This year’s U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer honoree is Boatswain’s Mate Chief (SW) Kendall D. Burnett. Chief Burnett joined the Navy in 2001 out of Houston Texas and has served with distinction ever since. His tours of duty include USS Thomas S. Gates (CG 51), USS Kidd (DDG 100), and USS Sampson (DDG 102). He currently serves onboard the PCU Carl M. Levin (DDG 120) as the Operation’s Department Leading Chief Petty Officer.

 

A committed supporter of his local community, Chief Burnett’s life in the Navy has embodied many of the qualities that made Mr. Robert “Bullet-Bob” Feller such a memorable American hero.  He is a technical expert in his field, bringing his experience and knowledge to bear to best support his Sailors and peers alike.  Chief Burnett’s leadership presence has far-reaching impact on our country’s warfighters.  Under his watch, he has helped develop Officers, and Enlisted alike, and has helped one Sailor receive a commission as an Officer in the Navy, and another of his charges assumed the rank of Senior Chief Petty Officer.  In addition, he has had Sailors on his watch stand out, as recognized by their selections as Sailor and Junior Sailor of the Year, A Junior Sailor of the Quarter within the Squadron, as well as supporting four of his Sailors in achieving Meritorious Advancements. Almost as impressive as success he enables in his Sailors, is his ability to have a 100% retention rate with his Sailors.  This alone speaks volumes about the impression he is making on tomorrow’s leaders. 

 

Outside of the ship, Chief’s leadership continues within the community.  He devoted countless hours to coaching countless Soccer, Football, and Basketball players. He volunteers with San Diego Meals on Wheels to prepare and deliver meals for families and individuals in need. He has put in the effort to show his respect for those who came before us, by assisting at the American Legion Post in Brunswick, ME, repainting much of the interior in his free time to ensure the greatest generation have a place to relax that is fitting for their sacrifice. 

 

Chief Burnett stated: “I joined the Navy a month before the September 11th attacks. I was in SN-ATD school when the Leading Chief mustered us in the lounge, and we watched the Towers go down. In that moment, it didn't matter why I enlisted because I had just found the reason, I was staying in. The same reason Bob Feller put aside his successful career in Major League Baseball after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Selfless patriotism.  His actions demonstrated his selflessness and honorable character. I choose to emulate these characteristics every day, in my Navy career and through my community service as a Youth Sports Coach. As a Chief, I guide my sailors to excel in what they need and help them realize their true capabilities. Bob feller has made an impact on my leadership and for this recognition, I am humbled and grateful.”

 

Chief Burnett has been the type of leader that has an exponential impact on his Sailors and his community, the lives he has touched through his unwavering dedication to service, and his lead by example style, will resonate for generations within the service. That is why he is the perfect Chief to represent this year’s Bob Feller Act of Valor award, and we expect even more out of him next year. Go Navy!

 

Jerry Coleman Award

Gunnery Sergeant White is being recognized this year as the Jerry Coleman Award winner. Gunnery Sergeant was notified of this year’s selection while he was forward deployed within the U.S. European Command are of responsibility serving as the Communications Operations Chief for Battalion Landing Team 2/6, 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, II Marine Expeditionary Force. Gunnery Sergeant White started his career leading the way, earning a designator as a Special Operations Capability Specialist Communications Marine, which can only be achieved if hand selected by the U.S. Marine Corps Special Operations Command.  Gunnery Sergeant White was responsible for millions of dollars of communications, which he employed to directly support several tactical ground movements and special operations missions. 

Gunnery Sergeant White’s leadership was recognized when he was chosen to mentor and train 20 Special Operations Communicators within the U.S. Special Operations Forces, while forward deployed to the Afghan provinces. His dedication to service has been felt through numerous highly selected commands, filling the Nation’s most demanding billets.  From his time at the Joint Communications Unit, with Joint Special Operations Command, to his role as the Communications Operations Chief at 2ndBattalion 6th Marines, where he supported high level operations at the Battalion level, a bi-lateral French Foreign Legion exercise, combined MARSOC exercises, as well as National Security level exercises involving live fire. 

When he steps outside the base perimeter, Gunnery Sergeant White continues to give of his time and experience.  He spent 3 years with the children in the community supporting a youth soccer program, 2 years with two youth football teams, and years supporting T-ball and Basketball.  Gunnery Sergeant White provided a selfless response when he was informed that he was this year’s recipient: “I want to thank the Bob Feller Act of Valor Foundation and the Jerry Coleman Family for selecting me for this prestigious award. I’m truly honored and humbled. As I tell my Marines, if you are humble, you are trainable, which makes you an asset. The moment you aren’t humble, you aren’t trainable and no longer an asset." 

Gunnery Sergeant White’s efforts with the community and the Marine Corps has ensured that there is a generation of Americans that will know what right looks like, and that is why he is the perfect choice for this year’s Jerry Coleman award. Semper Fi!

 

Peer-to-Peer Mentoring Awards

Two unique 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. This year’s recipients in the Afloat and Ashore categories are the USS Constitution Coalition ofSailors Against Destructive Decisions (CSADD) and the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Chapter of the Coalition of Sailors Against Destructive Decisions, respectively.

 

Peer to Peer Award (Afloat Category) 

The USS Constitution CSADD program’s reach provides programs and opportunities for the young sailors stationed onboard America’s most famous warship.  Their program supports their fellow Sailors, while providing leadership development skills to the Sailors that volunteer their time. The Sailors supported their command by establishing clubs to encourage social interaction, created peer to peer mentoring programs to encourage leadership development, as well as specific events to provide positive alternatives for safe and entertaining social interaction. Additionally, the CSADD members participated in 19 Color Guards events, supporting the Red Sox, Bruins, and the Patriots, representing the Navy on the National stage. Their efforts extend from inside the lifelines, helping incoming Sailors acclimate to their new and challenging duty, and outside, by volunteering their time to supporting the local community, through beach and common area beautification projects. 

 

Peer to Peer Mentoring Awards (Ashore Category)

The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard CSADD program is made up of Sailors from 19 tenant commands, four Submarines, and two Coast Guard Cutters. The coalition was formed in response to proactive Sailors recognizing the lack of available resources such as a galley, transportation, reduced base gym hours, and functional library center. When the pandemic occurred, an inability to congregate on liberty and elevated travel risk make taking time off to relax and recharge a significant challenge. That is when these Sailors acted and formed their own chapter of CSADD. These Sailors organized volunteer exercises, established professional development mentoring programs, and helped the mental health of their team through mindfulness seminars, boosting warrior toughness throughout the command.  These young leaders are creating a great team that will ensure the Navy transitions into the future with the strongest Sailors possible. They are a great example for the Fleet, as well as the youth of America.

 

Building Future Leaders

This year's ceremony will also recognize recipients of The Bob Feller Act of Valor Scholarship and Fellowship Programs. Added to the Award Ceremony in 2021, these programs were created to recognize accomplished Interns and provide tuition assistance to qualified students of military families, Veterans, service members and interns of the Bob Feller Internship Program. In alignment with the foundation’s mission to acknowledge and support the sacrifices made by our service members and their families, the foundation will award $12,000 in educational scholarships based on academic excellence, community service, leadership, and participation in extra-curricular activities in school and within their community. The 2022 Fellowship Award will be presented to Blake Schmida. Blake is a 2021 graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Dean’s List Scholar in the College of Journalism and Mass Communications.

 

Past Award Recipients

National Baseball Hall of Fame recipients have included: Yogi Berra, Tommy Lasorda, George Brett, Rod Carew, Tom Seaver, Johnny Bench, Randy Johnson, Brooks Robinson, and Joe Torre.

 

MLB player recipients have included: Justin Verlander: Nick Swisher, Jonathan Lucroy, Brad Ziegler, Darren O’Day, Sean Doolittle, Ian Kennedy,  Craig Stammen, and Griffin Jax.

 

Navy Chief Petty Officer recipients have included: Senior Chief Petty Officer Garth Sinclair, Senior Chief Petty Officer Carl Thompson, Chief Petty Officer Genell Cody, Senior Chief Petty Officer Christopher Beeding, Chief Petty Officer Edmundo Brantes,Chief Petty Officer Shawn M. Wingle, Senior Chief Petty Officer Jairo N. Guity, and Chief Petty Officer Lacresha L. Dowdell.

 

Peer to Peer recipients have included: The USS CARL VINSON (CVN70), HOPPER Information Services Center, USS CONSTITUTION, Unmanned Patrol Squadron ONE NINE (VUP-19), U.S. Naval Mobile Construction Battalion FIVE (NMCB 5), USS AMERICA (LHA6), and Training Support Center Great Lakes Chapter of the CSADD.

 

Marine Corps honorees have included: Staff Sergeant Rene Segura, First Sergeant Marshall Cleveland, Staff Sergeant Adam Plambeck, Gunnery Sergeant Johnathan S. Rose, Gunnery Sergeant Joshua A. MacMillan, and Master Sergeant Herman A. Kruppa.

 

About the Foundation

Peter Fertig founded The Bob Feller Act of Valor Award with the support of the United States Navy, United States Marine Corps, MajorLeague Baseball, the Cleveland Guardians, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and the gracious consent of Mrs. Anne Feller, the San Diego Padres, and the family of Jerry Coleman.

 

To learn more about our Foundation: actofvaloraward.org

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