PHOENIX -- In a pregame ceremony last Saturday as part of the D-backs' 15th annual Hispanic Heritage Day, D-backs catcher Miguel Montero's family presented a check for $50,000 to the Ronald McDonald House.
The gift itself, coming out of Montero's pocket, showed a little bit about the Venezuelan's commitment to his adoptive community. Why he chose to give to the Ronald McDonald House specifically, however, tells so much more.
Coming to the United States as just a teenager in 2002, Montero played his first two professional seasons in Missoula, Mont. There, he lived with the Hopkins family, who provided him with a home away from home as he began his road to the Majors. That's where he first became aware of the Ronald McDonald House charity.
"I remember we used to collect the lids off soda cans," Montero said. "Anytime we'd have a Coke, we'd take those off and put them in a little bucket and send them in for money."
For years, Ronald McDonald House Charities -- an organization that provides temporary lodging for families with sick children -- has asked people to save and later drop off pop tabs on soda cans for the nonprofit to sell the recycled metal and use the funds towards its charitable undertakings.
Already with a real-world and humbled view of what it's like to help something you care about despite having financial limitations of your own, Montero vowed to get even more involved in 2007, when one of his host parents' children passed away following a battle with cancer.
"I was 18 years old at the time [I lived with my host family], and I saw how much that [charity] meant to them," Montero said. "So now that I'm here and I can help even more, that's what I'm going to do."
Aside from the monetary aspect, Montero has also given his time to the charity, visiting the Phoenix locations on several occasions. The 30-year-old has also done other work in the community, like visiting the Maricopa Medical Center on Dia De Los Ninos earlier this year, but it's his personal relationship over the years with the Ronald McDonald House that shines a light on his character.
"God blessed me with all the things I have, so why not help others who need it?" Montero said. "I like what they do for people. I've spent a lot of time there, and I had a real connection there. I saw people coming in from all over and they couldn't afford much, but the Ronald McDonald House was there for them. It's good what they do for those people, and if I can help them some way, somehow, I'm going to do it."
Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less