Moments before every Major League Baseball game, the field becomes a stage with entertainment closely timed to roll into the television broadcast.
The annual Mormon Night with the Padres on Saturday, June 24, provided the Public Affairs Council of San Diego, Imperial and south Riverside counties an opportunity to build awareness of the Church's service initiative JustServe as they planned and implemented the different elements of the pregame ceremonies.
Filling the baseline between home plate and third base were selected JustServe partners, including stake directors of public affairs, JustServe council members and community partners. Behind home plate, North America West JustServe council member Rebecca Bennion presented the annual JustServe partnership crystal baseball to the City of Poway. On the field to receive the award for the city's years of volunteerism and community service was Deputy Mayor Barry Leonard.
“If we want something done in the City of Poway, we always call the Mormons first — they are simply amazing,” remarked Leonard.
On April 25, the San Diego City Council recognized the Penasquitos Stake with a proclamation for National Community Service Month. Representing the stake, Penasquitos Stake Presidency Member Chris Bahr was invited to throw the ceremonial first pitch prior to the game.
Full-time missionaries of the Church, Elders Kirk Napoleon, Robert Shurtliff, Dallin Yost and Aaron Climer, served as color guard and presented the colors while fans in the ballpark stood and removed their caps. In addition to their regular service as missionaries, the full-time missionaries perform community service, utilizing the JustServe website as a resource, and dedicate approximately 10 service hours each week.
The culminating element of the pregame ceremony is the singing of the national anthem. With fans already on their feet, the more than 30,000 fans cheered as David Osmond was introduced, and hushed as he performed “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
The Padres Entertainment Team quickly ushered participants off the field for the game. Special guests joined others in a suite provided by the JustServe-partner Padres.
Guests in the suite included Murrieta Deputy Mayor Randon Lane who appeared on the JustServe website introductory video; Poway Deputy Mayor Barry Leonard; California San Diego Mission President Jon Schmitt; temple presidency members Randy and Caroline Johnson; and members of the Regional Public Affairs Council.
Throughout the evening, opinion leaders and Church members became better acquainted and talked of serving together in the future. Church members in the stands for the annual Mormon Night and those in the suite enjoyed seeing the Padres beat the Tigers 7-3.