By Melissa Bower, Fort Leavenworth LampDecember 10, 2009
FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (Dec. 10, 2009) - Army Community Service is providing $50 gift cards to more than 400 families of deployed Soldiers on Fort Leavenworth, thanks to a donation from Royals Charities.
Kansas City Royals outfielder David DeJesus, and team Hall of Famers second baseman Frank White and pitcher Dennis Leonard visited post to sign autographs, meet with Army families and present a $25,000 check to support waiting families Dec. 2 at the Frontier Conference Center.
Joy Sedlacek, senior director of Royals Charities, said the team raises funds throughout the year with sponsorships, golf tournaments, auctions and events at games. She said supporting military families of deployed service members was one of the charity's priorities, especially close to the holidays.
"We want to support our Soldiers because they are defending and keeping us safe," she said. "We support our families and our military."
Col. Wayne Green, Fort Leavenworth Garrison commander, said it was an honor to accept the charity's gift.
"We're thrilled to accept this offer on behalf of our waiting families and the Soldiers they support," he said.
Green said the funds would not only support gift cards, but a catered holiday dinner for waiting families and gift boxes for single Soldiers through their unit family readiness groups. He thanked Royals Charities for their gift of caring and concern.
Families said they were especially excited to meet Royals baseball Hall of Fame players.
Maj. Jim Bunyak, Battle Command Training Program, brought his son Dylan, 7.
"He didn't know, I surprised him and brought him over after school," he said.
Chris McCormick brought her daughter, Ainsley, 5, and neighbor Reese Dietzman, 6.
"Apparently, Reese has been wearing his ball cap for about two days," McCormick said.
Jonathan Hokana, Patton Junior High School eighth-grader, said he was pleased to meet the players.
"I was stunned because this hardly happens," he said. "Personally, I think the more people support the military, the happier we'll be. These guys make everyone happy."