Major League Baseball and 'PEOPLE' magazine today announced the 90 finalists, three per MLB Club, for the "Tribute for Heroes" campaign, a national initiative that recognizes veterans and military service members and builds upon MLB and 'PEOPLE' magazine's commitment to honoring our country's heroes. The three finalists for the Arizona Diamondbacks include Dorothy Booth, Margo Parker and Dwight Howell. Fans are encouraged to visit TributeForHeroes.com to vote on their favorite stories through June 30th.
One winner from each of the 30 MLB Clubs will be included in All-Star Week festivities and recognized during the 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 the July 22nd issue of 'PEOPLE,' which hits newsstands Friday, July 12th, the week of the MLB All-Star Game.
Booth is a Fire Prevention Specialist in Phoenix, Arizona, but she has taken a few breaks over time to serve her country. In her last assignment (2/12-1/13), she worked as the Civil Affairs Team Sergeant in Ghazni Province, Afghanistan. She aided a grass roots uprising of local Afghans who were fighting back against the Taliban efforts to close schools, threaten medical workers, and abuse and intimidate citizens. For her efforts, she earned the Bronze Star Medal. Closer to home, she is very active in the local community and assists with Fire Prevention training in Phoenix.
After Congress passed a law allowing women to enlist with children, Parker was the first woman in California to enlist. Years later, both Margo and her husband received orders for Desert Storm while they had 6 children at home in Tucson, Arizona. Fortunately, Margo was able to serve locally while her husband was deployed to the United Arab Emirates. She raised her children and worked tirelessly for her country while worrying about her husband. This was before the Internet made daily calls and emails possible. Today, Margo and her husband are retired from the Air Force, but she still works full-time and helps her children and 14 grandchildren. Many have depended on Margo through the years, she serves a small community in big ways.
Captain Howell is currently stationed at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, and is the sort of young man books are written about. Serving as a Combat Engineer in Iraq and Afghanistan, he earned two Bronze Stars, a Meritorious Service Medal, two Army Commendation Medals, and a Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, among many others. Dwight lives by exceptional values, believing both as an individual and a Soldier that it is important to treat others as one wishes to be treated. He led his Engineer Officer Basic Course class in volunteer hours. His dedication to a Special Olympics Regional Tournament helped create a supportive atmosphere of teamwork among participants. In the fall of 2013, Dwight begins graduate studies at MIT, where he is sure to continue to distinguish himself.
Along with MLB and 'PEOPLE', a Guest Panel including General Peter W. Chiarelli (retired) and General John M. "Jack" Keane (retired) alongside MLB players Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers, Nick Swisher of the Cleveland Indians, Barry Zito of the San Francisco Giants, Jonny Gomes of the Boston Red Sox, Brad Ziegler of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Chase Headley of the San Diego Padres and Craig Stammen of the Washington Nationals assisted in the selection process for the 90 finalists.
The "Tribute For Heroes" campaign supports 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' 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.
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.