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O'Neil honored through Legacy Seat program
Royals' 2007 season marks program's first year
Buck O'Neil mosaic
This picture of Buck O'Neil is a composite of the 2007 Buck O'Neil Legacy Seat winners. Click on the picture to enlarge it. (Kansas City Royals)

• 2007 Buck O'Neil Legacy Seat Honorees
• 2008 Nomination Form

Have you met Juli Yocum? She spear-headed a program -- Baby Grace -- to provide assistance for single, teenage mothers in our area.

Or, have you ever come across Dr. S.P. Jothi while visiting Parsons, Kan.? He's to credit for the success of Parsons' free medical clinic that was started 11 years ago.

Then there is Johnnie Matz, who knows a thing or two about clinics. Maybe you've seen him at the Community Blood Center, where he has donated more than 63 gallons of blood - more than any other donor in Kansas City.

There is no denying that Juli, Dr. Jothi and Johnnie are three extraordinary people from the Greater Kansas City area who have turned a passion for helping others into something more. They are also three members of a select group of extraordinary people that we had the pleasure of meeting at Kauffman Stadium as they helped to honor the memory of a Kansas City Legend and Royals friend, Buck O'Neil.

The Royals had 81 home games this season. And, for each of those home games, Buck O'Neil's red stadium seat -- section 101, row C, seat one -- never went empty. Game after game, a member of the community sat in Buck's seat, honoring Buck's memory by being recognized for their impact on their neighbors.

When the Royals announced the Buck O'Neil Legacy Seat program this past January, no one was quite sure what kind of response the club would receive from the community. Then the nominations started rolling in, and throughout the 162-game season, they did not stop.

We had people nominate long-time scoutmasters (Dan Barnes, Raymore, Mo.), army chaplains (Rev. Sam Sanford, Leavenworth, Kan.), youth basketball coaches (Dalton Vann, Blue Springs, Mo.), American Red Cross volunteers (Susan Schular, Kansas City, Kan.) and Kansas City icons (Tony DiPardo). We had people nominate grandmothers (Evelyn Hurbert, Overland Park, Kan.), fathers (Mark Hoduski - Royals Father of the Year), grandfathers (Pete Graham, Sr., Independence, Mo.) and Sisters (Sisters Berta and Corita from Operation Breakthrough, Kansas City, Mo.). The Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kansas City (Roy Morrill), a hospice clinical director for Crossroads (Terry McCaffery), the Director of Marketing for the Negro League Baseball Museum (Bob Kendrick), the President/CEO of Cornerstones for Care (Paul Gemeinhardt) and the coordinators for Wheels That Care (Bob and Shirley Legg). Firefighters (five Waldo, Mo., firefighters), retired sergeants (1st Sgt. Albert Curley) and an anonymous kidney donor (Debra Callaway).

The list of accomplishments, achievements and acts of kindness goes on and on, each nominated person bringing a different story to the table and a different, but lasting impact on the community. In the end, we had so many outstanding community members brought to our attention that we did not have enough home games to honor every outstanding nominee. Therefore, we cannot help but continue the Buck O'Neil Legacy Seat program next season, carrying on Buck's legacy in our community by honoring the great people that work to make Kansas City a better place.

2007 Buck O'Neil Legacy Seat Honorees

April 2 - Warren O'Neil
April 4 - Debra Callaway
April 5 - Dave Murphy
April 6 - Michelle Ford
April 7 - Tim Crone
April 8 - Conrad Brady
April 20 - Bob Walkenhorst
April 21 - Kimberly Givner
April 22 - James Elliott
April 23 - Rob Desselle
April 24 - Wayne Morris
April 30 - Evelyn Hurlbert
May 1 - Don Green
May 2 - Carole Diehl
May 3 - Pete Graham Sr.
May 4 - Laurence Smith
May 5 - Richard Jackson
May 6 - Kevin Green
May 8 - Dan Barnes
May 9 - Joe Rhea
May 10 - Bailey Harmon
May 22 - Jonathan Hill
May 23 - Kyle Michael Stevens
May 24 - Nanetta Cater
May 25 - Larry Moore
May 26 - Nova and Dennis Maack
May 27 - Sgt. 1st Class Craig Glynn
May 28 - Sgt. 1st Class Will Lallement
May 29 - Dr. Jim Gill
May 30 - Nancy Lonergan
June 8 - Mike Etnire
June 9 - Al Carpenter
June 10 - Terry McCaffery
June 12 - Dick Kaegel
June 13 - Roy Morrill
June 14 - Maureen and Mark Huppe
June 15 - Bob Kendrick
June 16 - 1st Sgt. Albert Curley
June 17 - Mark Hoduski
June 29 - Pat Neaves
June 30 - Jim Kenney
July 1 - Evelyn Besser
July 2 - Canary Smith
July 3 - Rev. Sam Sanford
July 4 - Jim Carroll
July 6 - Leonard Rose
July 7 - Juli Yocum
July 8 - Eric Kelemen
July 23 - Paul Gemeinhardt
July 24 - Patty Garney
July 25 - Dalton Vann
July 26 - Waldo Firefighters
July 27 - Diane Henderson
July 28 - Johnnie Matz
July 29 - Dr. S.P. Jothi
Aug. 7 - Linda Anthony
Aug. 8 - Tony DiPardo
Aug. 9 - Jan Sanford
Aug. 10 - Frank Diskin
Aug. 11 - Bill Clem
Aug. 12 - Dave Benyo
Aug. 13 - Ralph Wienke
Aug. 24 - Bob & Shirley Legg
Aug. 25 - Susan Schular
Aug. 26 - David Humes
Aug. 28 - Chaplain Floyd Sullivan
Aug. 29 - Sisters Berta and Corita
Aug. 30 - Janna LaCock
Sept. 7 - Elvera Voth
Sept. 8 - Deb Caldwell
Sept. 9 - Teresa Pacheco
Sept. 10 - Henry Kupfer
Sept. 11 - Jill Hyson
Sept. 12 - Frank Peak
Sept. 17 - Diane Garrison
Sept. 18 - Dr. Will Adams
Sept. 19 - Dan Houlahan
Sept. 20 - Steve Hewitt
Sept. 28 - John Lair
Sept. 29 - David Miller
Sept. 30 - JoAnn Colbert