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 Philadelphia Phillies' "All-Star" is Brad Hennefer of Cherry Hill, N.J., who was chosen by fans across the nation for starting the Golf For Life Foundation, which introduces the game to Down Syndrome individuals.
Hennefer thus helps his peers: He is the only person with Down Syndrome in his high school's Hall of Fame. From its local roots, his foundation has grown into a prominent national program (www.Golfforlife.org).
Hennefer 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 Phillies were:
Jamie McKnight of Chalfont, Pa., who as the director of Teens 4 Good helps coordinate an urban and farming program of the Greater Philadelphia Federation of Settlements. The organization works with 80 young people who cultivate green space in the city and perform service projects while learning business, communication and leadership skills.
Gisele DiNatale of Voorhees, N.J., the president and founder of the Alicia Rose "Victorious" Foundation. The foundation installs "teen centers" for sick teenagers to go to when undergoing treatment in a children's hospital. The goal is to improve the lives of teenagers nationwide undergoing difficult struggles with life-threatening illness.
Meanwhile, vote for your favorite players with the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint Online Ballot at MLB.com and all 30 club 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.