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Press Release



On June 14, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Wells Fargo will honor PADRES Volunteer Mark Maxwell-Smith at Angels Stadium with a “Gracias Award” for making a difference in his community. Presented to a different individual at every Wednesday Angels home game, the Gracias Award recognizes Latino volunteers for their dedication to the people and organizations they touch.

Maxwell-Smith knows only a few words in Spanish, but that doesn’t stop him from volunteering at PADRES Contra El Cáncer events and camp weekends. His form of communication is universal to every child — laughter.

Famous for his silly jokes and funny antics, the kids simply call him “Pun.” He performs magic tricks, sings songs, plays tag and, most of all, makes so many children, enduring painful cancer treatment, laugh out loud.

The father of two grown daughters, Maxwell-Smith first met PADRES families while volunteering during a weekend retreat at Camp Ronald McDonald For Good Times back in 1999; he has been involved with the organization ever since. For the past several years, his wife, Melinda, known at camp as “Moose,” has also joined her husband at many PADRES events. Pun and Moose, married for 32 years, are a dynamic duo.

“We have met so many marvelous families, we just knew we wanted to be a part of this wonderful group,” says Mark Maxwell-Smith.

As a dedicated volunteer, Maxwell-Smith does it all. Whether staying late in the office to stuff flyers in envelopes, arriving at dawn to set up for an event, or sitting in the dunk tank during a family picnic, Maxwell-Smith always has a smile and a joke.

For this kid at heart, going to camp is his most treasured activity. In addition to the PADRES weekend retreats, he volunteers year-round during various sessions at Camp Ronald McDonald. He sits with the kids and sings songs around the campfire, he teaches them magic tricks and lets them tie him up in trick ropes and watches them burst into laughter as he tries to escape.

Maxwell-Smith, who is a game-show writer and producer, says it’s the childhood spirit of wonder and amusement that are his inspiration.

“It is such a joy to be around these children,” he says. “Their laughter, their hugs are gold.”

To purchase tickets for the June 14 Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim versus Washington Nationals game, where Maxwell-Smith will be honored, call 714.634.2000 or log onto www.angelsbaseball.com.

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