Pirates closer Mark Melancon joined the final Action Team conference call of the 2015-2016 school year, but it was a scholarship winner who persevered through a childhood battle with cancer who most inspired the high school volunteers who dialed in from around the country.
“I try to focus on overcoming the challenges and giving back, because I have this experience and I have the power to impact somebody,” Rachel Duke, whose leg was amputated at age 7 during her illness, told her fellow Action Team Captains.
Duke, of Brunswick (Me.) High School, and Mauricio Bustamante, of Queens (New York) Voc & Tech High School, who also joined the call as a guest speaker, were both recently selected by a panel of players, including Melancon, for Action Team scholarships based on a review of their community volunteer work and essays. (Click here for the complete list of 2016 Action Team Captain scholarship recipients.)
“I am humbled to be around these kids,” Melancon said. “It’s really inspiring to hear what they’re doing.”
Melancon’s praise and encouragement combined with Duke’s inspirational words to close this year’s conference call series on a high note.
“Everybody really put in the time,” the veteran, All-Star pitcher said during the call, which brought in Action Team Captains from Maine to Hawaii. “Their character stands out and we’re proud to say they’re on board with us on the Action Team.
“It’s helping out – that’s what life’s all about. You don’t have to be on a big platform to change lives.”
To listen to the entire April Action Team teleconference, click here.
To #JoinOurTeam, click here.