The Quad Cities River Bandits (Low A; Midwest League) announced the two scholarship winners for the Bandit Scholars program during Sunday’s game at Modern Woodmen Park, which help cover the full cost of college for the 2017-2018 academic year.
Bandits owner Dave Heller presented oversized checks symbolizing full cost-of-college scholarships to juniors Lane DeVore at St. Ambrose University and Dana Baele at Augustana College. The one-of-a-kind Bandit Scholars program is the single-largest college scholarship program in all of Minor League Baseball. It has been a staple of the Quad Cities River Bandits since 2009, when it was founded by Heller. The program has evolved to cover the cost of rising juniors’ tuition at two institutions in the River Bandits backyard, Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois and St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa.
“Giving out these scholarships is my single favorite thing I get to do as owner of the River Bandits,” said Heller. “We had many tremendous candidates this year and the selection process was extremely difficult. Dana and Lane epitomize what we value most at the River Bandits: a tireless passion to give back and support the Quad Cities community. We’re honored to reward them with these scholarships as they continue their higher education right here in the Quad Cities.”
DeVore is a Muscatine native and currently plays football for the St. Ambrose Bees. A political-science major, he is involved in the ROTC program at St. Ambrose and is working towards a military career after college. He also holds an executive position with the Young Republicans Club and this summer has been working with the River Bandits as a member of the Street Team.
Baele is a native of Annawan, Illinois and attended Annawan High School where she was a member of the cross country team. During her time at Augustana, Baele has been involved in charitable efforts of the school and giving back to the local community. She’s currently working with Camp Kesem, a national organization that supports kids through and beyond their parent’s cancer. Baele has goals of becoming a teacher after graduation and educating the future leaders of the Quad Cities community.
The scholarships are funded entirely through donations and fundraising efforts by the River Bandits. The Bandits raise money throughout the year with events such as the ‘Race to Home’ 5K, the team’s annual golf outing and 50-50 raffles during River Bandits’ home games. The scholarships are open to current rising juniors who reside in any of the following counties: Henry, Mercer, Rock Island and Whiteside Counties on the Illinois side, and Cedar, Muscatine and Scott Counties on the Iowa side.