Peter Brady of Brookfield. Contributed photo.
By Alice Tessier
Peter Brady of Brookfield is well known for his activities in leading the Handy Dandy Handyman ministry (HDHM), but now he has a new title—“All Star.”
He was one of the 30 winners chosen in the All Stars Among Us contest sponsored by People magazine in conjunction with the Major League Baseball (MLB) Association.
“It’s incredible,” Mr. Brady said in an interview. “I didn’t even know about the contest at the beginning.”
Two people familiar with HDHM had learned about it, and each submitted an essay explaining why they thought he was deserving of the recognition, he said.
Mr. Brady, who retired several years ago from Nestles in New Milford, volunteers his time throughout the year through HDHM, an outreach ministry of his church, Saint Joseph in Brookfield, to do home repairs for people in need. It began as a local program but has grown to include other communities in the Greater Danbury area, with more than 1,000 volunteers. HDHM’s latest project was a major home makeover in Bethel, which was recently covered in The Housatonic Times (June 18th issue). He led HDHM's two previous homemakeover projects, in New Milford in 1998 and in Brookfield in 1999. Several years ago, he was named a recipient of Rell’s Reward, a state recognition that Gov. M. Jodi Rell initiated when she was serving as lieutenant governor.
“They stated the case, and then on June 15 the three finalists for my club—the Yankees—out of the thousands of entries in May were on Good Morning New York, where we were interviewed,” said Mr. Brady, who obviously was not only among them but also the one picked to win for that club.
He went down to New York accompanied by three family members, and all were treated to dinner and a game.
“We saw the Yankees play the Phillies, were down on the field for batting practice, in the dugout, and I was given a ball signed by all the starters,” Mr. Brady recounted, adding that he’s been “a Yankees fan since day one!”
The winners, he said, get to go to Anaheim, Calif., to see the 81st Major League All Stars Game, which, Mr. Brady said, which will be played July 13 and “broadcast worldwide.“ It will be broadcast nationally by the Fox network, and the pre-game ceremony will kick off at 8 p.m. ET.
According to Mark Newman on the MLB.com Web site, there were 90 finalists—three per club—and after more than 1.7 million votes were tallied, 30 stories of inspiration … are about to be recognized.”
“It’s totally amazing,” Mr. Brady said of the four-day, all-expenses-paid trip he will be taking with his wife, Carol Ann, July 11.
“We will be down on the field for the [pregame] ceremony,” he added, regarding the winners, who will take part in the Red Carpet Parade, which is sponsored by Chevy.
Mr. Newman noted that the recognition program was launched last year “as part of MLB's ‘Going Beyond’ initiative, and recognizes individuals who are serving their communities in extraordinary ways.”
He quotes baseball Commissioner Bud Selig as saying, "Major League Baseball is privileged to recognize this team of 'All-Stars' whose selfless and tireless work is making a significant impact within communities across the nation. Together with People magazine, we look forward to using the All-Star Game, the premier sporting event of the summer, as a platform to honor these 30 winners and their worthy causes."
Mr. Newman quotes People’s managing editor, Larry Hackett, as saying, “"For the last 36 years, People magazine has celebrated everyday 'heroes' whose acts of courage, commitment, strength and compassion are changing the lives of others. These stories of ordinary individuals -- who dedicate their lives to making their communities a better place -- continue to inspire our more than 45 million readers."
He noted that one of the winners will be featured in the July 19 issue of People magazine.