MILWAUKEE, May 19, 2014 – Contributing to the community is a way of life for Ernie Medina. He is being recognized by Northwestern Mutual, through its Foundation, for his work with Websites for Heroes in Orange, California as a recipient of the company’s 20th annual Community Service Award.
Medina, a field director at Northwestern Mutual – Irvine, was chosen due to his outstanding volunteerism, earning him a $15,000 grant for Websites for Heroes. The award identifies 16 Northwestern Mutual financial professionals that demonstrate exemplary service with a local nonprofit and honors the organization with a grant on behalf of the volunteer’s work.
Websites for Heroes’ mission is to provide safe, interactive websites for deployed military heroes to stay connected with their families. Medina spends his time volunteering for the organization and is the co-founder of Purple Heart Baseball, a Websites for Heroes program that provides wounded veterans and Purple Heart recipients with the opportunity to play baseball on a major league field. He also serves on the board of directors for Purple Heart Baseball.
“In 2010 I was inspired to start Purple Heart Baseball after witnessing a wounded veteran amputee catch a foul ball during a baseball game,” said Medina. “I am motivated to build this program to a national level because of my own experience. I served in the Navy and Marine Corps for 12 years and I know what it’s like to transition back into civilian life.”
The nonprofit will use the grant to further enhance its Purple Heart Baseball program. It will provide funding for uniforms, equipment and the use of local baseball fields for practice. In addition, it will help the organization provide travel, lodging and advertising in order to execute more games and events. The ultimate goal is to build two more teams with the hope of making Purple Heart Baseball a national program.
“Achieving meaningful, lasting change in communities is only possible when someone takes the first step,” said John Kordsmeier, president, Northwestern Mutual Foundation. “The work Ernie does not only impacts those involved with the organization, but serves as a model for all of us to follow.”
The Community Service Program honors 16 financial professionals throughout the country who consistently work as exceptional volunteers in their communities. Since 1995, the company has donated more than $4 million to nonprofits on behalf of its representatives.