Major League Baseball and PEOPLE magazine today announced the "Tribute for Heroes" campaign, a national initiative that recognizes veterans and military service members and builds upon both organizations' commitment to honoring our country's heroes. Beginning today and running through May 17th, fans are encouraged to visit TributeforHeroes.com to nominate an active or former member of the Armed Forces of the United States or Canada for the chance to represent their favorite MLB team at the 2013 All-Star Game.
Once all the nominations are reviewed, three veterans/military service members per Club (90 finalists) will be selected by MLB, PEOPLE, and a celebrity panel of judges, who will be announced at a later date. Fans will then be encouraged to vote online from June 9th through June 30th for their Club favorite. All 30 winners, one representing each MLB Club, will be announced on July 10th. They will be included in All-Star Week festivities and recognized during the All-Star pre-game ceremony leading up to the 2013 All-Star Game at Citi Field on July 16th on FOX. A "Tribute for Heroes" winner will be featured in PEOPLE magazine the week of the MLB All-Star Game.
The "Tribute For Heroes" campaign will support Welcome Back Veterans (welcomebackveterans.org, powered by MLB.com), an initiative of Major League Baseball and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, which addresses the needs of veterans after they return from service. Major League Baseball has committed more than $23 million for grants to hospitals and clinics that provide post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) treatment to veterans and their families in a public/private partnership with "Centers of Excellence" at university hospitals throughout the country.
As part of its 2013 charity initiative, "PEOPLE First: Help America's Veterans," PEOPLE magazine is partnering with Welcome Back Veterans and three other nonprofit organizations that are committed to providing assistance to military men and women, and will feature them in multiple editorial stories in PEOPLE throughout 2013.
"It is our privilege to honor the returning veterans and active military service members who risked and continue to risk their lives to protect our great nation," said Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig. "Major League Baseball is proud to use the national stage of the Midsummer Classic to celebrate the courage and sacrifices made by our Veterans and active military service members."
"For close to 40 years, PEOPLE has told stories of everyday heroes whose acts of courage, commitment, strength, and compassion have changed the lives of others," said PEOPLE Managing Editor Larry Hackett. "PEOPLE is thrilled to be part of 'Tribute for Heroes,' a campaign that gives back to the brave men and women who have served in the military." PEOPLE Publisher Karen Kovacs adds: "We are excited to continue our partnership with MLB, an organization that shares PEOPLE's commitment to recognizing the selfless work of everyday individuals across the country. We encourage all fans and readers to nominate a veteran in their community."
Currently, Welcome Back Veterans funds programs at The University of Michigan, Rush University Medical Center, Duke University, Emory University, Weill Cornell in New York City, UCLA and the Boston Red Sox' Home Base Program at Mass General Hospital in Boston. These institutions are developing new programs and strategies to improve the quality, quantity and access to PTSD and TBI treatment for veterans, particularly those returning from duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.