Fans choose Kuntz as Bucs' All-Star
Pittsburgh's pick one of 30 honored for community work
After thousands of nominees from across the United States and Canada were narrowed to 90 finalists, Major League Baseball and PEOPLE have announced the 30 winners of the "All-Stars Among Us" campaign, which spotlights people who have gone above and beyond to serve their communities.
The Pittsburgh Pirates' "All-Star" is Matt Kuntz, who resides in Helena, Mont., and was chosen by fans across the nation for spearheading an ongoing campaign to ensure adequate post-traumatic stress disorder screening for all National Guard troops in his home state.
Kuntz was alerted to the need for the practice by the 2007 suicide of his step-brother, Chris, following his return from Iraq with an undiagnosed case of the syndrome. Kuntz made proper PTSD diagnosis his mission, and continues to actively campaign for PTSD screening for all veterans.
Kuntz and the rest of the winners will be honored during the pregame ceremony at the 2009 MLB All-Star Game in St. Louis on July 14 on FOX, at which President Barack Obama will throw out the ceremonial first pitch. One club representative also will be featured in People Magazine.
Nearly three quarters of a million votes were cast by fans across the nation in the All-Stars Among Us campaign to select the 30 "All-Stars Among Us" winners -- one per Major League team -- out of the pool of 90 finalists who are serving as leaders within their communities.
The other finalists for the Pirates were:
Michael T. Sherry of Cranberry, Pa., who has a special place in his heart for children with disabilities, which led him to initiate the construction of a Miracle League Field in Cranberry Township, the first of its kind in the region. He spearheaded the endeavor, while also engaging the help and financial support of many in the community.
Leon E. Haynes III of Pittsburgh transformed a former school building into a hub for community activity, social services and hope for Pittsburgh's Wilkinsburg neighborhood by creating Hosanna House. He brought together government, social service, business, community and religious leaders for Hosanna House, which currently serves more than 27,000 people annually.
Meanwhile, vote for your favorite players with the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint Online Ballot at MLB.com and all 30 sites.
The 80th Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and Sportsnet HD and televised around the world by Major League Baseball International, with pregame ceremonies beginning at 8 p.m. ET. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio coverage, while MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.