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Birdland Community Heroes Program

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 2016 Birdland Heroes and seventh-inning stretch performers.

  Birdland Americana Weekend - September 23-25, 2016
  • SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25: Annette March-Grier was recognized for her work with Roberta's House, a non-profit family grief support center in Baltimore. Watch Video »
  • SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 24: Baltimore City Police Department Officer Sufian Hassan was recognized for his work with the Pennsylvania Avenue Initiative and his commitment to community-focused policing. Officer Hassan strives to build positive relationships with community members to help ensure safe neighborhoods. Watch Video »
  • FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 23: Reneita Smith was recognized for her heroic rescue of 20 Glenarden Woods Elementary School students after the school bus she was driving caught fire in College Park. Smith was able to rescue all 20 children unscathed. She continued going back into the bus for each child, making sure no child was left behind, as the bus was eventually destroyed from the fire. Watch Video »

  Birdland Americana Weekend - September 16-18, 2016
  • SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 18: Jennifer Brause was recognized for her dedication to Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS). Brause is the founder of BARCS, the largest open admission animal shelter in Maryland that cares for more than 11,000 cats and dogs, and nearly 1,000 exotic, wildlife, and farm animals each year. Since she founded the organization in 2004, the BARCS team has spayed and neutered more than 40,000 animals and rescued more than 76,000 dogs and cats in Baltimore City. Watch Video »
  • SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 17: Ebony Johnson was recognized for her commitment to PASS, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting athletics, scholarship, and sisterhood to female youth in the Baltimore Metropolitan area. Since Johnson founded the organization in 2012, PASS Inc. has helped instill self-esteem, discipline, respect, teamwork, good sportsmanship, and integrity in nearly 100 youth between the ages of 9 and 19. Watch Video »
  • FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 16: Dr. Marvin L. Cheatham, Sr. was recognized for assisting more than 7,000 children and their families in attending Orioles baseball games since 2005 through the OriolesREACH Gameday Experience program, as well as his overall contributions to the Baltimore community. Dr. Cheatham is also the founder of the Men's Blue Suit Health Awareness weekend and the annual Men's Reading in Baltimore City Public Elementary Schools, and he has served as the Baltimore City president for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the National Action Network, and the City's Election Board. Watch Video »

  Birdland Americana Weekend - September 2-4, 2016
  • SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 4: Dan Blue was recognized for his dedication to providing baseball equipment for children locally and internationally. Blue is a science teacher at Dunloggin Middle School and the CCBC Catonsville baseball team's head coach. Over the last eight years, he has conducted equipment drives with baseball camps, his baseball program, and at his middle school, collecting on average 3,500 items per year. Watch Video »
  • SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 3: Michael Parkent of Pasadena, Md., J.T. Beatty of Pasadena, Md., and Jason Barnes of Westminster, Md. were recognized for their courageous actions during the Ellicott City floods in late July. Each of these individuals risked their lives to rescue others who were struggling for survival in the dangerous flood waters. Watch Video »
  • FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 2: Dr. Yoram Unguru was recognized for his dedication to helping children battling cancer at Horizon Day Camp. Dr. Unguru, a pediatric hematologist/oncologist at The Herman and Walter Samuelson Children's Hospital at Sinai, serves as Medical Director of Horizon Day Camp and has played an instrumental role in bringing Horizon to Baltimore, Md. Watch Video »

  Birdland Americana Weekend - August 19-20, 2016
  • SATURDAY, AUGUST 20: Lydia Dibos was recognized for her commitment to Catholic Relief Services for 20 years. Dibos serves as the senior advisor for Hispanic Outreach at the headquarters in Baltimore, where she works to engage U.S. Hispanics with Catholic Relief Services. Watch Video »
  • FRIDAY, AUGUST 19: Majbritt Jensen, LCSW-C was recognized for her devotion to the University of Maryland Medical Center as a social worker. Jensen continually works with patients in the Bone Marrow Transplant program in the Greenebaum Cancer Center. She initiates and facilitates two support groups and has developed a "Caregiver Contract" for her allogeneic caregivers. Watch Video »

  Birdland Americana Weekend - July 22-24, 2016
  • SUNDAY, JULY 24: Dr. Lori Edwards was recognized for her devotion to the public health community in Baltimore City. She serves as President of the Board for the Julie Community Center, which is a nonprofit organization located in Fells Point that is dedicated to improving educational access and opportunity in the city. Edwards, who was previously with the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, also helped set up health education programs in Libya following the civil war there. She recently founded a nursing group in hopes of providing medical access for the most disadvantaged residents in our community. Watch Video »
  • SATURDAY, JULY 23: Thomas J. Mooney, IV was recognized for his commitment to the Orokawa Y in Towson and the Y in Central Maryland's Northern Baltimore County Community Leadership Board. Mooney spends nearly 200-300 hours each year volunteering on behalf of the Y in Central Maryland. Watch Video »
  • FRIDAY, JULY 22: Pamela Johnson was recognized for her dedication to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Baltimore, where she serves as Area Director. She provides leadership for the Webster Kendrick Club, Towanda Club, and is the Community School Coordinator for Callaway Elementary School. She has been with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Baltimore since 2009, and she was actively involved in the planning process for the establishment of the new computer lab and Teen Center at Callaway Elementary, and the Webster Kendrick Club, which was donated by the Orioles Charitable Foundation and Adam Jones. Watch Video »

  Birdland Americana Weekend - July 8-10, 2016
  • SUNDAY, JULY 10: Adam Rosenberg was recognized for his devotion to the Baltimore Child Abuse Center (BCAC). Rosenberg and the staff of the BCAC work tirelessly every day to make sure that victims of child abuse and exploitation can achieve hope, healing, and justice. Rosenberg has led BCAC's efforts over the last eight years, helping BCAC become one of the first 24-hour children's advocacy centers in the country. Each year, the BCAC helps more than 1,000 children and trains more than 4,000 professionals. Watch Video »
  • SATURDAY, JULY 9: Linda Jordan was recognized for her commitment to the BWI Airport USO. Jordan, a retired Executive Recruiter and Navy wife from Crofton, Md., started volunteering for the USO in July of 2014 and since then has volunteered for more than 1,600 hours. Watch Video »
  • FRIDAY, JULY 8: Phillip Vaughn was recognized for his dedication to improving the lives of individuals and families impacted by mental illness as a volunteer at the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Metropolitan Baltimore. Vaughn serves in the Patient and Family Peer Support Program at the University of Maryland Medical Center and talks with patients and their family members in the psychiatric unit, offering support, comfort, and other resources. Watch Video »

  Birdland Americana Weekend - June 24-26, 2016
  • SUNDAY, JUNE 26: Ryan Kaiser was recognized for being named Maryland Teacher of the Year; for dedicating his time as an education speaker and advisor in the state of Maryland. Kaiser teaches sixth and eighth grade social studies at The Mount Washington School in Baltimore City and was recently honored by President Obama at the White House. Watch Video » Learn more about MD Teacher of the Year »
  • SATURDAY, JUNE 25: Destiny Watford was recognized for her efforts to protect the quality of life of those in the Baltimore community. Watford, a 2016 Goldman Environmental Prize winner, along with Free Your Voice (an advocacy group she co-founded), prevented a trash incinerator from being built in the community near her high school. Watch Video »  |  Learn more about Free Your Voice »
  • FRIDAY, JUNE 24: Captain David Chen was recognized for his brave rescue of an individual contemplating suicide on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Chen risked his life to comfort the individual and ultimately bring him to safety. Chen has courageously saved many lives over the course of his career as a firefighter with Anne Arundel County Fire Department. Watch Video »

  Birdland Americana Weekend - June 17-19, 2016
  • SUNDAY, JUNE 19: Hercules Johnson was recognized for being a foster father and for his tireless work with KidsPeace. Johnson, a CADD engineer and full-time pastor, and his wife, Evelyn, have been fostering youth in the region for years. Watch Video »  |  Learn more about KidsPeace »
  • SATURDAY, JUNE 18: Thomas Gordon was recognized for receiving the Maryland Parent Involvement Matters Award from the nation's first and only statewide award program, honoring parents and guardians for their critical work. Gordon is a United States Park Policeman who serves as an ongoing volunteer to the Indian Head Elementary School community. Gordon also leads the Keeping Kids in Coats Program, serves as the Fifth Grade Robotics Coach, and volunteers in the school's Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports Program. Watch Video »  |  Learn more about Parent Involvement Matters Award »
  • FRIDAY, JUNE 17: Dr. Carla Hayden, CEO of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore was recognized for her recent nomination by President Barack Obama as Librarian of Congress. Dr. Hayden has devoted her career to promoting youth literacy and to modernizing libraries so that everyone can participate in today's digital culture. She would be the first woman and the first African American to hold the position if she is confirmed as Librarian of Congress. Watch Video »  |  Learn more about Pratt Library »

  Birdland Americana Weekend - June 3-5, 2016
  • SUNDAY, JUNE 5: Captain Flo Groberg was recognized for receiving the Medal of Honor, the highest U.S. military decoration, awarded by Congress to a member of the armed forces for gallantry and bravery in combat at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty. Capt. Groberg was raised in Bethesda, Md. and attended the University of Maryland, College Park. He was deployed to Afghanistan in 2009 and again in 2012. Groberg currently resides in the National Capital Region and is a civilian employee of the Department of Defense. Watch Video »
  • SATURDAY, JUNE 4: Madison Strempek was recognized for her work in helping children with an incarcerated parent cope with their feelings, family, friends, and school. Strempek, an 11-year-old girl from Crofton, Md., is the author of the No. 1 best-selling book, "Everyone Makes Mistakes: Living with My Daddy in Jail." As an advocate for children with incarcerated parents, Stempek wrote a letter to President Obama asking for criminal justice reform and was recognized by the President for her efforts. Watch Video »  |  Learn more about Madison's book here »
  • FRIDAY, JUNE 3: Jim Breedlove was recognized for his continuous support and dedication to the Maryland Food Bank. Breedlove first joined the Maryland Food Bank as a volunteer in September of 2014, when his daughter suggested he consider taking part in the food bank's volunteer program. Today, Breedlove is a fixture at the food bank, coming in every week and supporting the cause in many ways, including helping at the food bank's community kitchen, packing and preparing food for distribution, and distributing food in the community to those in need. Watch Video »  |  Learn more about Maryland Food Bank here »

  Birdland Americana Weekend - May 13-15, 2016
  • SUNDAY, MAY 15: Don Salamone was recognized for serving the communities of Baltimore City for 44 years, including 17 years in partnership with the Orioles and the RBI (Reviving Baseball in the Inner City) Program. Watch Video »  |  Learn more about Baltimore RBI program here »
  • SATURDAY, MAY 14: Debbie Rohlwing was recognized for her ongoing support of adapted sports programs. Rohlwing is leader of the Parkville Conquerors Challenger Baseball Program. She is this year's John Salony Memorial Award recipient for her efforts in supporting Challenger Baseball. Watch Video »  |  Learn more about Baltimore's Challenger Baseball program here »
  • FRIDAY, MAY 13: Cee Griffin and Sy Wainwright were recognized for their support of Let's Feed the City, an effort to feed, clothe, educate, and provide entertainment to homeless men, women, and children in Baltimore. Watch Video »

  Birdland Americana Weekend - May 7-8, 2016

  Birdland Americana Weekend - April 29-May 1, 2016