Kazanas honored with Roland Hemond Award

Kazanas honored with Roland Hemond Award

CHICAGO -- John Kazanas received the Roland Hemond Award from the White Sox prior to Sunday's series finale with the Twins in recognition of his heroic act helping a family in danger following a car accident in Arizona three months ago.

Kazanas was on his way from Arizona to Las Vegas for the Area Code Baseball Games tryouts, traveling on Highway 83, which Kazanas said is known as "White Cross Highway" because of all the accidents. The father of four and scout for the White Sox since 1992 watched as a truck with a trailer on the back moved lanes without seeing a van carrying a mother and her three children that it clipped and sent rolling into the median.

"The vehicle behind her avoided the debris and continued to move on," Kazanas said on Sunday. "As I got up to them, the car was still flipping as I was coming close to the side to pull over.

"I ran across the highway and heard screams and hollering and crying and cries for help. When I got there every darn van door was smashed. You couldn't get in. I went through the broken glass of the windshield to get them out."

According to Kazanas, the three children he helped rescue are OK, while the mother who was driving "is going through some issues presently."

"But just to hear their father, how grateful he is to have his kids on Father's Day, it was rewarding enough," Kazanas said. "I'd do it tomorrow if I ran across the same situation. I felt it was the right thing to do, having children and seeing things day in and day out, you want to make sure everybody comes out of it ok."

Hemond and White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf presented the award on the field Sunday to Kazanas. The Roland Hemond Award was created in 2003 "to honor those who show a tireless dedication to bettering the lives of those around them," per the White Sox press release announcing Kazanas as the winner. The award is given to those who provide extraordinary personal sacrifice for the benefit of others, such as Kazanas.

"Thirty teams, every person in baseball, knows Roland Hemond and he has made an impact on helping scouts and player-development people," said Kazanas of the former White Sox executive. "And for me to have a little piece of that, from a gentleman that's an icon in baseball, it's pretty special."

Scott Merkin is the White Sox beat reporter for MLB.com. He has been covering baseball in Chicago since 2000.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.