XZero Heroes: Ryan Faulkner, UCA Polar Bears

When his plan to play college baseball threw him a curve ball, University of Central Arkansas senior Ryan Faulkner found another way to turn his dream into reality. “I’ve been playing baseball since I was four years old,” Faulkner said. “[In my youth,] I won back-to-back championships in USSSA ball and earned All-Conference honors as the left fielder for Central Arkansas Christian High School. When I heard that UCA was holding open tryouts in 2015, I knew that I had to give it a try. I tried out as a pitcher, but ultimately didn’t make the team.” Fearing the end of his baseball career, Faulkner found opportunity in the most unexpected of times. “That was when I met Will Tucker,” Faulkner sai

XZero Heroes: Brandon McKeever, Arkansas Steelers

Like many in central Arkansas, Brandon McKeever loves sports. In his youth, he excelled in football at J.A. Fair High School and as a semi-professional player for the Arkansas Bonecrushers, Arkansas Pirates and Team Arkansas. In his twenties, however, he’s moved from tackling other players to tackling problems in his Little Rock community. “I got tired of turning on the television every day and seeing 18 and 19-year-old kids constantly getting in trouble for stupid stuff,” McKeever said. “I felt like a lot of these kids didn’t have a place to go and didn’t have anything to do, so they got in trouble instead.” Troubled by growing youth crime in his community, McKeever, 27, found a way to help

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© 2016 by Mark Oliver