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 received 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 continued 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 Birdland Heroes and seventh-inning stretch performers.
DR. KALA VISVANATHAN, for her dedication to preventing both breast cancer and ovarian cancer. Dr. Visvanathan is a cancer epidemiologist and a practicing medical oncologist at Johns Hopkins Medicine. She serves as a mentor to the next generation of cancer researchers and clinicians and is working with the John Fetting Fund for Breast Cancer Prevention, the recipients of the proceeds of this year's Mother's Day Jersey Auction.
KIM COBLE, for 25 years of service and leadership with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF). Coble is CBF's Vice President of Environmental Protection and Restoration, where she directs all policy, advocacy, and restoration efforts through the Chesapeake Bay watershed. In addition, she serves on the boards of Agro-Ecology, Maryland Leadership Workshops, and Restore America's Estuaries.
JAMES BARNES, for his passion for helping the poor and homeless get back on their feet. In addition to working at Oriole Park, Barnes is a volunteer and leader for Health Care for the Homeless, participating in a committee that guides the agency on how it can better serve the community. Once lacking a job and a home himself, he shares his story with diverse audiences through the local Speakers' Bureau to raise awareness about homelessness
MARIO BERNINZONI, for helping the poor and homeless find emergency, transitional, and permanent affordable housing and services. Berninzoni has been working with Arundel House of Hope in Anne Arundel County as its Executive Director for more than 17 years. He has spent his professional career helping and supporting the homeless.
Watch Courtney Gilbert's 7th Inning Stretch Performance:
COLONEL RAYMOND FANG, for his leadership at the US Air Force Center for Sustainment of Trauma and Readiness Skills (C-STARS)-Baltimore. Fang, an active military member since 1995, cared for our Nation's Wounded Warriors at the U.S. Army's Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany and was appointed Chief of the Trauma Program in 2009.
Tom Zepp's 7th Inning Stretch Performance:
JOHN KAMPES, for his dedication to local youth sports. Kampes is a coach for multiple youth baseball teams, and he is also the executive director for the Cecil County YMCA. He was critically injured in a car accident last year and has been committed to getting back on the field with his teams this spring in order to continue to be a great role model and mentor for his players.
Cantor Thom King's 7th Inning Stretch Performance:
MAJOR GENERAL LINDA SINGH, for her leadership, perseverance, service, and commitment to mentoring local youth. An Adjutant General in the Maryland Army National Guard, Singh has served since 1981, including two years of service in Afghanistan. Once a homeless, high school runaway who survived abuse and sexual assault in her youth, she now mentors young women and has been inducted into the Maryland Women's Hall of Fame.
Watch Courtney Gilbert's 7th Inning Stretch Performance:
KIM CALLARI, for her tireless work at The Baltimore Station, a residential treatment facility for Homeless Veterans. Callari creates and manages all fundraising activities, special events, and grant writing, and develops and manages communications and public relations activities for the organization.
Watch Michelle Hall's 7th Inning Stretch Performance:
STACEY STIRMER, for her compassion and commitment to autism awareness and fundraising. Stirmer and her husband, Lloyd, helped to create two fundraising efforts for Autism Speaks — the Course for the Cause and Voices for Autism. Stirmer has also been a volunteer at Gilchrist Hospice Care for the last six years, where she works directly with patients in the inpatient unit as a certified end of life doula.
Watch Maxx Factor's 7th Inning Stretch Performance:
CATHY YOUNG, a registered nurse at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center from Baltimore, for her attentiveness to helping others in medical need both on the job and away from the workplace. She has received the Daisy Award at MedStar for being an extraordinary nurse.
ASMA INGE-HANIF, an advanced nurse practitioner from Baltimore, for opening her home to Muslim women and children refugees who were sexually assaulted or victims of domestic violence and ultimately converting her home into a shelter. She also feeds the homeless through her "Chili Bowl Sunday" program and provides physicals to individuals wishing to participate in the Special Olympics.