This is the sixth of six articles regarding Heartland Health’s sponsorships of St. Joseph Mustangs baseball and the Kansas City Chiefs summer training camp. The Mustangs’ season started May 26. They played a total of 46 games; 26 in St. Joe at Phil Welch Stadium and 20 away games.
Heartland is a key sponsor of the Mustangs as well as the Chiefs summer training camp because we know how important both are to the vitality of the community. Commercials featuring people who have taken this philosophy to heart will appear during the months of July and August on cable and local television stations. This is the “story behind the story” of Ben Stedronsky, 24–year–old bullpen coach for the St. Joseph Mustangs.
You never know where your passion will take you. Ben, a native of Lincoln, NE, started playing baseball when he was only five–years–old. He worked hard during high school and graduated in 2005 from Lincoln Southwest High School. At Northwest Missouri State University, he pitched out of the bullpen for the Bearcats and tallied 53 career appearances, which is 2nd in school history. Ben played for the St. Joseph Mustangs in the summer of 2010 and graduated Northwest Missouri State University with a degree in Corporate Recreation and Wellness. It’s an opportunity that may not have surfaced without the partnership Heartland and the St. Joseph Mustangs created.
Speaking in June, Ben says, “We average about 1,500 spectators a game. Last Saturday [for Heartland’s fireworks display] there were 3,100 people.” St. Joseph has backed the ball club for two years. “I like the town,” Ben says. “It has a baseball atmosphere and there is plenty of support.”
For this particular campaign, Heartland’s call to action was to become a fan on Facebook and Heartland would donate a window fan to members of our community who are less fortunate and struggling to stay cool. The response was tremendous. As of Monday, July 25, more than 1,000 people have become our fan response from the community. Heartland made a donation of 119 fans to InterServ, which has distributed nearly half of these fans, and a cash donation of more than $15,000 so that InterServ can continue to buy not only box fans, but air conditioners for those who are most at–risk. According to InterServ Associate Director Jeannie Archer, the campaign is a windfall for the agency, and they are thinking creatively about how the funds will be used, including a winter coat drive this fall.