11/26/08 4:00 PM EST
Hanrahan at forefront of giving attitude
Right-hander one of many Nationals aiding local community
By Bill Ladson / MLB.com
The good deeds are endless. For example, the team visited local schools and hospitals and donated more than 23,000 baseball tickets to youths in the D.C. metro area.
Right-hander Joel Hanrahan received the most recognition when it came to giving back to the fans. He was the Nats' candidate for the Roberto Clemente Award this year, which recognizes involvement in the community as well as performance on the field.
This was Hanrahan's first year working with the American Red Cross. When Hanrahan saw the devastation created by the floods in Iowa this summer, he took on this cause and spearheaded a campaign in the Washington area to raise awareness and money for the organization's disaster relief efforts.
Hanrahan, an Iowa native, mobilized an aggressive fundraising campaign at Nationals Park, which also included television and radio ads. He helped organize an online auction with valuable game-used items and experience packages, recorded public service announcements for television and radio and promoted a week-long collection at the gates at Nationals Park. Hanrahan's efforts helped raise $11,000 for the cause.
"The whole driving force behind the Red Cross fundraising effort for the Midwest flood victims was his idea," said Barbra Silva, the Nationals' director of community relations. "He approached us and said, 'I really want to do something for this.' He took it upon himself. He spearheaded it. He drove it. We were more than happy to support it."
Hanrahan has done a lot more than helping flood victims. He was an integral part of the 2008 Man and Woman of the Year Campaign for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society -- National Capital Area Region. The Man and Woman of the Year Campaign is a fundraising competition organized by The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Hanrahan also has participated in a number of events and activities for the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation, such as attending the annual Dream Gala, and giving his time to experience packages donated to the event, as well as playing an active role in the Nationals' community outreach efforts.
Hanrahan is always available to make school visits, baseball camp visits, on-field meet and greets with numerous non-profit organizations, including the military, that make trips to the ballpark. He also lends a hand with the Nationals' summer reading program done in partnership with the D.C. Public Library.
As always, manager Manny Acta sets the tone when it comes to giving back. The impACTA Kids Foundation, a charitable foundation of Acta's, presented two students with a $2,500 scholarship to be used towards higher education.
The recipients, Vincent Omekan from School Without Walls and Pilar Barreyo of Wilson High School, were recognized during a ceremony at Nationals Park this past season.
Omekan and Barreyo had at least a 3.3 cumulative grade point average and will continue their education in the field of science, technology or business when they attend college.
"The impACTA Kids Foundation aims to provide opportunities for kids to achieve their dreams," Acta said. "I am proud to be able to assist these students to further their education and reach those dreams."
Outfielder Lastings Milledge was always available when it came to making appearances outside Nationals Park. He was often seen visiting kids at schools. He even made an appearance at the ESPN Zone to unveil the team's new jerseys.
"[The jersey changes] are good for the fans who want to buy memorabilia," Milledge said after the unveiling.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.