Finalists for 'All-Stars Among Us' announced

Finalists for 'All-Stars Among Us' announced

Marcia Merrick (Royals nominee) has no income of her own, but she spends 60 hours each week feeding the hungry and homeless on the streets of Kansas City. Every morning, she rises before dawn to prepare more than 400 sack lunches, each with a sandwich, chips, cookies, water, and a note of encouragement. She spends the rest of the day distributing the sack lunches to those in need.

Terry Grahl (Indians nominee) of Taylor, Mich., is founder of Enchanted Makeovers, an internationally recognized non-profit that refurbishes shelters for women and children, to make them into "places of peace and possibilities." In addition to providing new paint, handmade items and furnishings, the organization does national outreach to raise awareness of the plight of women and children in shelters and the importance of beauty and hope.

Mindy Atwood (Reds nominee) of Hilliard, Ohio, founded Patches of Light to help critically ill children and their families during emergencies to pay for expenses, including utility bills, hospital parking, airline tickets, funerals and any other expense incurred when a child is very sick. She also brings books and "hug bags" to children at Children's Hospital.

They are just three of the 90 inspirational finalists who now await your vote for the chance to be honored on the field at the 81st All-Star Game on July 13 in Anaheim. Major League Baseball and People magazine announced on Tuesday the finalists and the start of the voting period for the 2010 People "All-Stars Among Us" national campaign, which debuted in 2009 and recognizes individuals who are serving their communities in extraordinary ways.

The 90 finalists (three per MLB club) include stories of noble individuals who tirelessly contribute their time and resources in ways that meaningfully strengthen their communities and enrich the lives of their neighbors. The finalists have been selected from thousands of online submissions by fans across the U.S. and Canada who nominated their local "All-Stars."

You can vote from now through June 20 -- as often as you wish -- for your favorite everyday hero who goes above and beyond to serve their communities. A total of 30 "All-Stars," one representing each club, will attend and be honored during All-Star Week, including during the pregame ceremony on FOX, beginning at 8 p.m. ET. One of the "All-Stars Among Us" winners will be featured in People magazine during the week of the All-Star Game.

"The inaugural 'All-Stars Among Us' program last year made a significant impact on everyone involved and helped increase awareness of the meaningful efforts of 30 great humanitarians," said Commissioner Bud Selig, who met with the group of 30 honorees last year while the Monday player-interview sessions were being held the day before the All-Star Game in St. Louis. "We are proud to partner with People magazine again to acknowledge another team of inspirational heroes who deserve recognition for their important work."

For the past 35 years, People has celebrated everyday "heroes" whose acts of courage, commitment, strength and compassion are changing the lives of others.

"Showcasing the inspiring work of everyday 'Heroes Among Us' has been an essential aspect of People's editorial mission for the last 35 years," said People managing editor Larry Hackett.

Time Inc. Style & Entertainment Group president Paul Caine added: "We are excited to continue our partnership with MLB, an organization that shares People's commitment to recognizing the selfless work of everyday individuals across the country, and we truly value the impact this campaign had on our All-Stars and their chosen causes. We encourage all fans and readers to vote for this year's finalists."

Mark Newman is enterprise editor of Follow @MLB on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.