Looking Back on 2022: The Bob Feller Act of Valor Awards Ceremony
Updated: Feb 1
As we head into the new year and look back on the successes of 2022, it is hard not to reflect on the foundation’s success regarding the year’s events.
The Foundation hosted the 10th Annual Bob Feller Act of Valor Awards Ceremony this past November. It was also the first time the Ceremony was held in person at the U.S. Naval Memorial Plaza in Washington, D.C. since a 3-year period of hosting a virtual ceremony. The annual ceremony celebrated Major League Baseball Players, current and retired, and the U.S. military and Veteran community.
Bob DiBiasio, Senior Vice President with the Cleveland Guardians and board member of the Act of Valor Award Foundation, sat down to discuss his experience in organizing the Award Ceremony with his unique perspective from his position in Major League Baseball. He was close friends with Bob Feller and Steve Curtis, a Veteran who is the Vice President of the Act of Valor Award Foundation and heads the Podcast and Education Committee. Mr. DiBiasio has been involved in the Award Ceremony since it’s conception after he was approached by Peter Fertig, founder and CEO, to create an event honoring Bob Feller and the mission of the foundation.
In his 10 years helping to run and MC the event, Mr. DiBiasio has seen the ceremony change with experience. The foundation is becoming more well known in the baseball sphere and is beginning to become known amongst the general public. The work to make sure the greatest generation is not forgotten is not easy, but a challenge welcomed and embraced by the foundation.
The challenge was welcomed again this year, with over 200 people coming together to celebrate and honor the sacrifice of current service members and Veterans, as well as the commitment that Major League Players demonstrate to bring awareness and support to current service members and Veterans. The 2022 Award Recipients reflect the values and mission underlying the Bob Feller Act of Valor Foundation, which is modeled on Bob Feller himself; the sacrifices he made and the values he instilled in his life.
There was a large military presence felt at the ceremony through the military presence as well as the environment at the U.S. Naval Memorial Plaza. The Foundation was proud to have John H. Dalton, Ray Maybus, and Thomas Modly, three former Secretaries of the Navy, and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy James Honea and the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Troy E. Black in attendance. In addition, the 2022 Military Award Recipients were Chief Boatswain’s Mate Kendall D. Burnett and Gunnery Sergeant Joseph S. White. Young sailors from the USS Constitution CSADD (Sea) and Portsmouth Naval Shipyard CSADD (Shore) were honored as the two Peer to Peer recipients.
The Ceremony also takes time to honor members of Major League Baseball who have demonstrated a strong commitment to honoring service members and using their platform to raise awareness. The 2022 Major League Baseball recipient was Byron Buxton, an outfielder on the Minnesota Twins. His older brother, Felton, serves in the U.S. Navy, which inspired Byron to run the Buxton’s Battalion Program. The program invites families of service members to Target field every Tuesday for a special batting practice viewing session, meet and greet, and provides tickets to the night’s games. He was honored and presented the award by Griffin Jax, the 2021 MLB recipient.
The other two awards presented that night were to Blake Schmida, the 2022 Fellowship Award winner, and Cole Ingram, the Lasorda Legacy Award winner. He was this year’s youngest recipient and was awarded because of his heartfelt video on the core values of commitment and the honorable military service of Hoyt Wilhelm during WWII.
The night was a wonderful event filled with comradery and celebration, a perfect way to wrap up the 2022 year. The night ended on a hopeful note, with lots of excitement and support surrounding the future programs and events held by the Bob Feller Act of Valor Foundation.
We are looking forward to the coming year and all the goals and projects set to continue to raise awareness for Military Suicide Prevention, provide support to current service members, Veterans, and their families, and educating the younger generations on the legacy of Bob Feller’s generation.