CHICAGO – For his decision to come to a family in need after a horrific car crash on an Arizona highway in June, Chicago White Sox scout John Kazanas has earned the team’s Roland Hemond Award for extraordinary personal sacrifice.
Kazanas, who has been a White Sox scout for the past 25 years, was on a dangerous stretch of highway between Phoenix and Las Vegas when a minivan two vehicles ahead of him was sideswiped by a truck hauling a trailer.
The van rolled multiple times in the median, with Kazanas rushing to the aid of the victims. He had to break a window in the van to help free a mother and her three children, including one who was an infant unharmed in a car seat.
Reports of the incident indicated that other motorists continued down the road without helping, while the driver that caused the crash stopped on the side of the road, but did not assist the victims.
"I guess you're challenged in some way and you know what's right," Kazanas told the Arizona Republic.
Nobody is more pleased with Kazanas actions than Donovan Dunnam, whose wife Hollee and three children ages 6, 3 and 1 were in the van.
“He kept my kids calm, talked sports with my middle son Ethan and just stayed there the whole time,” Donovan Dunnam told Baseball America. “He had places to go, but he took time out of his day to stop for a wife and kids that he didn’t know. That’s just a testament that you don’t have to be a firefighter or a cop to be a hero.
“The story people should know — especially the White Sox organization – is what kind of scout they have. ... He risked his life to help my wife and save my children and I’m forever grateful of that.”
In addition to receiving his award on the field before Sunday’s White Sox-Minnesota Twins game, Kazanas also will get a trip to the 2015 All-Star Game at Cincinnati as a guest of the White Sox.
Among the amateur players Kazanas has scouted during his career is Paul Konerko.
“It is an honor and pleasure to see John Kazanas receive this award,” former general manager Roland Hemond said in a statement. “John is a true baseball man, who through his selfless act became a hero to a family in need.”