Living United

Story by Dave Phillips. Photos by Sydney Kispert-Bostick.

August 18, 2017

United Way Day at the ball game

Students at United Way Day at Comerica Park
It was a sun-soaked afternoon of fun Aug. 10 during United Way Day at Comerica Park. A sea of students and supporters clad in Live United T-shirts filled hundreds of seats in anticipation of the game.

The entire day was all thanks to the generosity of United Way partners Comerica, Adient, GM, Eaton, AT&T, Lear, EY, Marketing Associates, Walbridge and Borg Warner, which donated tickets and suites.

“United Way Day at Comerica Park was a celebration of the United Way’s mission,” explained Michael Ritchie, President, Comerica Bank – Michigan.

“The celebration was a way to say thank you to those who give their time and resources to support United Way. It was also an opportunity for us to share their story with others and make more people aware of the great work United Way is doing in our community. I applaud United Way for their efforts to stabilize families and help people today and in the long term.”

Making an impact

For 10 Melvindale High School students interning with GM Student Corps to make an impact in the community during summer break, United Way Day wasn’t a day off — they spent the morning with one of our partners, Gleaners. There, they packed 1,100 bags of food for senior citizens, before coming to the game.

“It’s rewarding to watch how we’re impacting our community,” said Marketea Abbott, an incoming senior who is interning this summer. “It’s a really good feeling.”

She was grateful for the opportunity to visit Comerica Park during United Way Day.

“Coming here through our internship is a great way to spend time with my peers as well as my mentors,” she said,

Among those mentors were Cheryl and Bob Catton, GM retirees who are now involved with GM Student Corps, which was inspired by the GM United Way Network of Excellence. The program pairs GM retirees like the Cattons with high school students to plan and execute community service projects.

“We want to thank United Way,” Cheryl said, adding that one student had never been to a sporting event. “To be able to offer them this opportunity, which we wouldn’t have been able to offer on our own, has been great.”

United Way for Southeastern Michigan President and CEO Herman Gray speaks with Scott Linnell, who won an auction for the right to throw out the first pitch at Comerica Park, with proceeds going to United Way.

United Way for Southeastern Michigan President and CEO Herman Gray speaks with Scott Linnell. Scott won an auction to throw the first pitch during United Way Day, with proceeds going to United Way.

First pitch

Comerica donated the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to throw out a first pitch before the game. Scott Linnell, an FCA employee, won an auction for the opportunity, with the proceeds benefiting United Way. He gifted his wife Anna the opportunity to throw out the first pitch for their anniversary.

“It was great,” Anna said. “I was a little nervous but just being out there was very enjoyable, and it’s all for a good cause.”

First pitch thrown at United Way Day at Comerica Park

Anna Linnell throws out the first pitch.

Their children also attended United Way Day.

“We’ve always been advocates of United Way, especially because it’s supported so well by FCA,” Scott said. “It’s just part of our nature nowadays to try to give back. United Way does a lot of community outreach. I see it all the time.”