The Hometown Heroes Program sponsored by Centerpoint Energy recognizes everyday people from our community that have helped their neighborhoods in extraordinary ways. Perhaps they started a neighborhood recycling program, volunteered to teach others how to read, or even performed some feat of heroism.
How to nominate someone
Fans can nominate their Hometown Hero online or in person at Minute Maid Park in the Union Station lobby or at the Fan Accommodations Booth (Section 112 or 323).
One winner will be chosen each month during the season to throw out a ceremonial first pitch prior to a game and to be the special guest of the Astros for the evening.
SEPTEMBER 2007 Frank Velasquez has served in various volunteer roles many of which center around youth baseball. He was instrumental in obtaining a $1.5 million community development block grant fund which was used for extensive renovation of the Deez Park facility (four baseball fields completely reconstructed with lighting upgrades, concession stand and bathroom facilities). Frank also served as the President of the Texas Baseball Booster Club. In 2002, Frank's love for children and baseball led him to the Council of Houston's Inner City Little Leagues (CHILL) which represents 12 little leagues in Houston's inner city. He has helped provide free baseball clinics, scholarships and discounts to children of all ages and he organizes a CHILL tournament each year before the season starts. His efforts also make it possible for CHILL leagues to participate in the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa., each year free of charge.
Frank remains active in other areas of his community as a member of the Eastwood Civic Club and of the Super Neighborhood Civic Club for the Lawndale Fullerton communities. He was honored by the Houston Astros and Gillette at Hispanic Heritage Day in 1999 for his devotion to the community. Frank earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in 1978 from the University of Houston and currently works for the University of Texas Health Science Center in the area of research administration
AUGUST 2007 Cliff Adams is one of 18 children and spent much of his youth playing sports. Cliff's utilizes his interest in sports to instill a greater sense of community throughout his hometown. In high school Cliff was a star wide receiver at St. Pius where he teamed up with local sports stars Gary Kubiak and Kenny Humprehys. Following his high school graduation he joined the Navy and played on the baseball, football and softball teams at his various posts. When off-duty, Cliff served as a youth coach and he led Naval Junior ROTC programs in the Aldine and Fort Bend school districts. As a Naval science instructor at Bush High School, he led the NJROTC drill team to the national championship in 2006. At Nimitz High, he led that school to national championship appearances in 2001 and 2004.
Cliff also is active with St. Monica Catholic Church. Among his many services to St. Monica's is his work as the Director of the St. Monica Youth Sports Ministry. His dedication has resulted in an eight-fold increase in participation in the sports ministry, from 30 kids to more than 250. He also coaches youth basketball and baseball in the Acres Homes Youth Association. Adams recently received the Father Hogan Award in 2005 and the Hayden Walker Award in 2006 as a member of the Knights of Peter Claver for dedication and leadership to the parish of St. Monica and the Acres Home Community.
JULY 2007 Arnie "Peanut Dude" Murphy has opened his heart to the Sunshine Kids. In 2000, Arnie the "Peanut Dude" incorporated his work as a peanut vendor at Minute Maid Park with his desire to help kids with cancer. He started hosting "Junior Peanut Dudes" and these special sidekicks helped him sell peanuts for a few innings during most games. The extra tips he raises from selling peanuts with a Sunshine Kid he voluntarily donates back to the organization.
JUNE 2007 Roberto Gauna was recognized as June's Hometown Hero for coming to the rescue in a time of great need. On May 25, 2007, Roberto saved the life of Jeff Blessing, a man involved in a motorcycle accident on I-45. He spotted the emergency and stopped to help direct traffic and provide aide to Blessing. Despite stopping to help a motorist in need Roberto, who was driving a cement truck, was still able to deliver to his job site on time.
MAY 2007 Lisa Camp was honored as May's Hometown Hero for her work in the community of Friendswood. An EMS and fire respondent for 28 years, Lisa worked her way up the ranks and was named FVEMS Chief in 1995. Part of her service has included the creation of a continuing education program for EMS teams. She has also visited many schools and community events as a Safety Clown, passing along valuable safety lessons. Lisa also formed a Bike Medic Group after receiving bikes and other equipment as donations to FVEMS.
After the events of September 11, 2001, Lisa felt compelled to do more with her community and joined the Texas - 3 Disaster Medical Assistance Teams (DMATs). She has been sent across the country to provide medical assistance, most recently to New Orleans, La., for several weeks following the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
APRIL 2007 Dr. Mark Kline was nominated by his colleagues at the Texas Children's Hospital for positively influencing numerous individuals in the Houston area, as well as around the world.
In 1996, Dr. Kline organized a trip to Romania where he visited orphanages for children with AIDS and other severe infectious diseases. Following his return to the United States, the Baylor professor of pediatrics launched the Baylor International Pediatric AIDS Initiative (BIPAI), in order to deliver medication to HIV-positive children in foreign countries. The BIPAI has grown to include a pediatric AIDS clinic in Romania, as well as six clinics throughout Africa. With Kline's leadership and guidance, the Houston-based program has provided care for 12,633 young children, mostly in Sub-Saharan Africa.
In addition to providing care for infected, sick children, Dr. Kline's BIPAI program provides educational classroom experiences for health care professionals in African nations. Through Kline's efforts, there has been an increase in HIV/AIDS awareness, and countless lives have been saved in underprivileged parts of the world.