In September, the Blue Wahoos were recognized as the best team in the Southern League for community involvement. As part of that recognition, the Blue Wahoos were nominated for the John Henry Moss Community Service Award, a national recognition given to one Minor League ball club each year at the Baseball Winter Meetings in December.
Pensacola area nonprofits greeted the news with excitement, but not surprise.
Holley Moseley of the Epilepsy Society of Northwest Florida thanked the Blue Wahoos for supporting awareness for people with Epilepsy. “With their help, the Epilepsy Society has been able educate fans via our “Seizure First Aid” video as well as our annual “Epilepsy Awareness Night” at the Stadium. I am very grateful and have been blown away by the staff’s fantastic support, generosity, and kindness,” said Mosely.
Susan Byram of Autism Pensacola echoed the sentiment. “I can’t begin to express the difference the Wahoos made for autism this year! Their support of our Connecting the Pieces dinner made our Kids for Camp another great success this year with 65 children with autism, their teachers, families and friends (including typical teen volunteers),” said Byram.
“The Wahoos welcomed our campers to tour the stadium and learn about jobs. The highlight was a visit with Kazoo, of course! The tour was led by Donna & David Byram (my son) who loves working as a ticket taker for the Wahoos. I am grateful on so many levels for the commitment and support of The Blue Wahoos in our community-they really make a difference for those with autism,” Byram continued.
Donna Kirby, the Blue Wahoos Director of Community Relations and Promotions, said the recognition was an honor for the entire Blue Wahoos program, from the owners and staff to the players to the fans.
“This is a great honor for the entire Wahoos Nation to be selected to represent the Southern League for this award. Our owners, Quint and Rishy Studer, have set the standard for community involvement and charitable work, and that flows through our entire organization,” said Kirby.
“From our players who wear different uniforms, wristbands and patches for charities, to our fans who are so generous and participate in dozens of fundraising efforts throughout the season, to our front office staff who are constantly looking for ways to help our community, we are grateful for the opportunity to represent the Southern League, the Pensacola area, and our wonderful fans in this competition for the John Henry Moss Community Service Award,” Kirby continued.
The John Henry Moss Community Service Award honors Moss for his dedication and charitable service to baseball and his community during his 50-year tenure as a league president. Moss founded the South Atlantic League and presided over it from 1959-2008. He died in 2009 at the age of 90.
Some of the criteria that will be used to choose the winning club include the community service involvement of players, staff and/or ownership, company policies or programs that promote volunteerism among the staff, club-sponsored charitable initiatives and programs, donations to local not-for-profit organizations and community groups, involvement with civic organizations, participation in league-wide initiatives and committees, support of MiLB Charity Partners and engagement with MiLB Charities, and support of baseball-related not-for profit organizations, among others.