Major League Baseball announced on Thursday that Justin Turner was named the Dodgers’ 2020 nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award, baseball’s most prestigious individual honor for Major Leaguers.
The Roberto Clemente Award is the annual recognition of a Major League player who best represents the game of Baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field. If you follow the Dodgers at all, you know that Turner was definitely the easy choice.
Every year, each MLB Club nominates one player to be considered for the league-wide Award in tribute to Clemente’s achievements and character. Next Wednesday (9/9) will by the 19th annual Roberto Clemente Day, which was established by Major League Baseball to honor Clemente’s legacy as a humanitarian and to officially acknowledge local Club nominees of the Roberto Clemente Award.
Since he joined the Dodgers, Turner has almost spent more time in the community than on the baseball field. Him and his wife Kourtney are currently spending their time at home working to support small businesses while at the same time providing hot meals to those in need. Nearly every day from mid-March through June, they would choose a restaurant and order thousands of meals to be delivered to the Los Angeles Dream Center, which fed over 12,000 individuals per day at the height of the pandemic.
The couple donated an estimated 900,000 meals during the 82-day effort, culminating with the Dream Center naming their food bank The Justin & Kourtney Turner Food Bank.
Per the press release:
In addition to his efforts at the Dream Center, Justin donated several meals per week to the doctors, nurses and staff at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA), where Justin, Kourtney and the Justin Turner Foundation have been added to the “Spotlight Wall” in recognition of their philanthropic efforts. Justin is a longtime supporter and frequent visitor to CHLA, and he along with Kourtney, have served as Honorary Hosts for their Walk and Play LA event for the past two years, helping to raise critical funds for the hospital. They also hosted CHLA’s Winter Wonderland during the holidays, creating a festive carnival for hundreds of patients. The Turners also make frequent visits to patients at Cedars Sinai Hospital and UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital throughout the year, and serve on the board of UCLA Health’s Operation Mend, which provides healthcare and social support for wounded warriors and their families.
His support of Operation Mend is just one of Turner’s contributions to the military community. One of the pillars of the Justin Turner Foundation is to support homeless veterans, and the Turners host an annual golf classic to help support that mission. Additionally, Justin has annually championed AM 570’s Veterans Day Radio-a-thon, which has benefited Paralyzed Veterans of America as well as the Dream Center’s Veteran’s Program. Turner has also been instrumental in the Dream Center’s programming for veterans and helped support the opening of their Women Veterans Program in 2018, which helps aid women with the difficult transition from military to civilian life. He also created a Military Monday program prior to the 2019 season, where through social media he solicits nominations and then selects a military family to receive an all-inclusive gameday experience at each Monday home game.
Turner’s generosity in the city of Los Angeles hasn’t gone unnoticed. Back on January 22, 2019, the city declared that Jan. 22 will forever be recognized as “Justin Turner Day” in Los Angeles.
“You don’t have to do more than ask and let him know when and where the event is, and he’s there,” Council member Gil Cedillo said. “He shows up. He has an incredible commitment to the city, to the young people of the city, to veterans, to the challenges that confront us with homelessness. He is somebody that is really special. When you think of team, when you think of leadership, you think of the competitiveness … you have to think of Justin Turner.”
Here is what Turner had to say about the recognition.
“Being nominated for the Roberto Clemente Award by this great organization is something that my wife Kourtney and I are so proud of, and it’s truly an honor to be recognized. We feel so fortunate to be able to give back – especially during these hard times due to the coronavirus – and support our homeless veterans, hospitals, schools and youth sports,” said Turner. “We have the greatest fans in all of baseball who support us year-round, and we have a duty, a responsibility to give back to the community above and beyond.”