The search for the third Captain Springfield is underway.
The social media contest originated through a News-Leader brainstorm. Matt Simpson of OTC won the first competition in 2016. Representative Crystal Quade was elected last year. I was at a poverty commission presentation at the Springfield Art Museum last year and sat next to Crystal. After the presentation, a friend asked if I recognized her as the state representative. I replied, “I just know her as the reigning Captain Springfield.”
The whole contest, including absurdly ridiculous promises and brilliant Twitter banter, is quite entertaining. I wrote a poem about it for my Springfield-based book of poetry.
Not a bird, not a plane
no flying superpower necessary
internet contest pitting
chosen local celebrities
(including inanimate objects)
celebrating Queen City life,
business, charity, government, art, food,
rounds of voting
promises, allegiances, concessions made
trophy doesn’t include a cape
just a Twitter handle
Janelle is the fifth person in the current Captain Springfield contest who has been a catch-playing partner. We found out Janelle was elected to the Final Four during today’s game of catch.
“My phone is absolutely blowing up,” she said as we paused the catch for her to check her messages.
Janelle would be a perfect Captain Springfield.
Janelle is the founder of SingleMomzRock, a ministry she started after going through a divorce and being a full-time mother to two daughters. SMR encourages and equips single parents through community partnerships and helping them learn of the available resources. She’s walked in their shoes and knows full well the compassion and community needed to survive as a single parent. Janelle was the recipient of The Gift of Time award in 2015 presented by the City of Springfield and was nominated for the Most Influential Women award from Springfield Business Journal in 2015 and 2016.
SMR is now housed as a program of Victory Mission. Janelle is the Special Events and Outreach Director for Victory Mission; playing catch is definitely a special event. Her catch-playing partner is probably in need of some kind of outreach, too.
Janelle’s story is full of surprise twists. Like the time she was hired for a job after a three-month long interview process only to have the business close after one month. Or when she went to the 2005 World Series to cheer on Frank Thomas. Or her story about a con artist.
In my overly-optimistic world, Captain Springfield is someone who represents the values and heart of Midwest life. Janelle’s heart for others and attitude of perseverance are perfect for the title.
“Don’t ever give up — you never know what’s around the corner.”
You can vote for Janelle once per hour for the next twenty-four hours here.
Side Note: I’m pretty sure Janelle said that, if she’s elected Captain Springfield, she’ll help me find a way to throw out a first pitch for the Royals.