Thursday, July 30, 2009

Milwaukee’s ‘The Everyday Journeyman’ Takes a Detour to 2009 Major League Baseball All-Star Game in St. Louis

The Milwaukee Brewers selected Milwaukee resident Loyal Mehnert from thousands of applications to be their People’s Magazine ALL-STAR AMONG US representative at the 2009 All-Star Game in St। Louis.

Before you read my interview with Loyal, please check out Habitat for Humanity’s feature by Teresa K. Weaver at: to learn about Loyal’s extraordinary story!

JOEL: Go ahead, Loyal, name drop for us. Who are some of the interesting people and players you have met as a result of your Major League Baseball All-Stars Among Us honor?

LOYAL: For Milwaukee Brewers fans, I was able to meet Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder, and Trevor Hoffman. Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig tracked me down at a press conference to shake my hand. We Milwaukeeans stick together. I've also been invited to take part in President Carter and his wife's Habitat for Humanity Work Project in Southeast Asia. I'll either be in Thailand or Vietnam this November.

JOEL: Of all the people you mentioned who was the most interesting?

LOYAL: Definitely the other 29 All-Stars Among Us. Our backgrounds are all completely different, from cities across North America, yet we share this incredible common bond. I expect to remain close with this group for years to come.

JOEL: Who was the funniest? Why?

LOYAL: By far, Duane Silverstein of Seacology (, an international environmental nonprofit organization that focuses on saving endangered species, habitats and cultures of islands throughout the world. Not only his work for the environment incredible and exciting, he's really, really funny. I can't wait to see him next time I visit San Francisco.

JOEL: What was the spark that lit this burning passion in you to help others?

LOYAL: I wasn't always selfless. In fact, as a teenager I think many would describe me as selfish. But as an adult, I became interested in volunteering and began work in the non-profit sector. I served as a National Media Spokesperson for the Avon Foundation's domestic violence awareness campaign (Speak Out Loud) and Habitat for Humanity (Thrivent Builds).

Hindsight being 20/20, I wish I'd been exposed to volunteerism as a teenager. I think my high school years would have certainly been more rewarding.

JOEL: What's the best way to inspire others to help those in need?

LOYAL: Lead by example. Not everyone can travel across Africa or other parts of the world or spend months hiking the Appalachian Trail. But you can find journeys in your own backyard. Run a local 5K or marathon for charity and raise money for cancer research. Volunteer at a homeless shelter or mentor a child. Find an issue that you are passionate about that's not being addressed and create your own solution. The Everyday Journeyman project is all about helping others do things they don't think are possible. Taking that leap of faith, that first step. It's risky, it can be scary but the reward is extraordinary.

Joel: You were there, Loyal, so tell me, did President Obama's pitch bounce in the dirt and how did his first pitch compare to the one you threw out at Miller Park?

LOYAL: Personally, I think my first pitch was better. Granted, President Obama is a bit taller than I am so his pitch looked better. But it was also a ball whereas mine was definitely in the strike zone. But President Obama gets style points.

JOEL: I love quotes, so I have to ask, what are some of your favorite inspirational quotes?

LOYAL: There are two that are really part of my daily philosophy.The first from Robert Frost, "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. "The second by President Theodore Roosevelt, "Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorius triumphs, even though checkered by failure... than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat."

JOEL: What are some other possible journey ideas that are currently rolling around in your head?

LOYAL: As I hike the 2000+ miles of the Appalachian Trail, I didn't expect to be hit so hard by bouts of extreme loneliness. It's a major issue I hope to correct by bringing others along in the future. As for upcoming journeys, I'm looking seriously at long distance biking along the Great Divide from the Canadian border south towards Mexico. I would also like to kick-start the Seven Summits. Start with the closest and most readily accessible mountains like Denali, Kilimanjaro, and Aconcagua. A great amount of money can be raised for charities like Habitat for Humanity via these journeys. I welcome those interested in my Appalachian Trail hike and the upcoming biking and mountaineering journeys, whether they want to come along or pledge donations, to contact me at for more information.

You can follow and support Loyal at or on Facebook at He will be visiting my school to talk to my students some time this fall, and I will be sure to update you on his journeys then.

I have five award-winning children’s books A GLOVE OF THEIR OWN to give away to COUNTY STADIUM KID readers who post comments about their or someone else’s volunteerism. Who are the all-stars among you?

(To view our living Presidents tribute to the ALL-STARS AMONG US that was aired before the All-Star game, go to: )



  1. Another great post about a really awesome guy. Can't change the world? BS....One person at a time. Great work! Todd

  2. When you have some time take a look at this blog link:

    Apparently, there was a cancer victim named Jonthan Jay White that the cancer community, Lance Armstrong, and LiveStrong embraced, sending financial support, etc. to him.

    The blog link I forwarded you is the painful admission from a woman named Gena that she had been duped by someone posing as Jonthan and she's received several comments already.

    Lance Armstrong provided the link I gave you. He's in the middle of the Tour de France and a busy man, but has time to forward links tied to his community of followers.

  3. Awesome interview! There are some great volunteers out there for sure, I've worked with quite a few in the library & volunteers definitely make a huge difference & impact!