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Chasers President Receiving Brett Award

Cordaro to be honored by ALS Association
Omaha Storm Chasers president Martie Cordaro, left, is this year's recipient of the George Brett Award for Commitment from the ALS Association's Mid-America Chapter.
March 2, 2020

Omaha Storm Chasers president Martie Cordaro is set to receive the ALS Association Mid-America Chapter’s George Brett Award for Commitment Friday night in Kansas City, Mo. Cordaro will be presented the award at the organization’s annual Night of Hope at the Kansas City Convention Center.

Omaha Storm Chasers president Martie Cordaro is set to receive the ALS Association Mid-America Chapter’s George Brett Award for Commitment Friday night in Kansas City, Mo. Cordaro will be presented the award at the organization’s annual Night of Hope at the Kansas City Convention Center.

The Brett Award has been awarded annually since 1988 to a person, organization or company that has shown an exemplary long-standing commitment to raising awareness and funding to battle amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Brett, a Kansas City Royals legend and Baseball Hall of Famer, has been involved in the ALS fight since his friend Keith Worthington, whom the Mid-America Chapter was originally named after, was initially diagnosed with the disease in 1973.

Cordaro has been involved with the chapter since 2006, raising funds and awareness. He helped move the annual walk in Omaha to Werner Park in 2011. In 2014, he visited Washington, D.C., to meet with legislative members about the need for continued funding for military veterans battling ALS. Military members are twice as likely to develop ALS than those who haven’t serve.

“Martie is the absolute model of who we consider a Brett Awardee,” said Colleen Wachter, the executive director of the ALS Association Mid-America Chapter. “He has been working with our chapter for 13 years and has given countless hours of his time to our mission.”

Cordaro was first introduced to ALS, commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, while working for the Birmingham Barons in 2004. The Double-A club was raising funds for its local ALS association by having fans make a monetary donation to sign an inflatable Gehrig jersey.

The following year, Cordaro became the general manager of the Single-A Southwest Michigan Devil Rays in Battle Creek, Mich. There, he started to get more involved in the fight against ALS.

“Naturally, by the position, I became more engaged in the community,” Cordaro said. “The ALS association there, based out Grand Rapids, reached out to do some things with the team. That’s when I started to learn what ALS was, not just Lou Gehrig’s disease, and how it affects people.”

Cordaro brought that knowledge to Omaha and sought out the local ALS Association chapter upon his arrival in late 2006. His involvement was professional only at first, but that’s changed.

“I joined the regional advisory council in 2007, and I have served in a number of roles since,” Cordaro said. “And over time, on a parallel path, I got to know persons with ALS and families who are helping their loved ones who have ALS. Along the way, my involvement became engagement. When they said, ‘We want you to accept this award,’ I was emotionally impacted immediately.”

Cordaro said the ALS honor means more because the award is named after Brett, whom he considers a friend. Brett, the Royals vice president of baseball operations, has been in Omaha for the Werner Park groundbreaking, the Triple-A All-Star Game and other special events.

“He’s done a number of things with us and for us here in the metro area. He’s been a supporter of the franchise,” Cordaro said. “George is very active still with the Royals, and that’s helped keep ALS at the forefront. With George and his connection to our franchise and Kansas City – and being able to call George a friend – it’s very special. I’m humbled by it. I think it’s fantastic.”