Tribute For Heroes
With Washington, D.C. as our home, the Nationals embrace the sacrifices made by those who bravely serve our country and we work year round to support military service members and their families. As an extension of our commitment to them, the club has teamed up with Major League Baseball and ‘PEOPLE’ magazine to highlight local veterans and military service members through the 2013 Tribute for Heroes campaign.
Nationals pitcher Craig Stammen – who joined Ross Detwiler on General Martin E. Dempsey’s USO Tour this offseason – played a particularly important role in this initiative, as he was a part of the panel that selected 90 heroes, three per MLB Club, for this special recognition. The finalists were announced Tuesday for this nationwide tribute and Nationals fans are encouraged to visit TributeForHeroes.com to vote for the local military service member they would like to see represent the Nationals at the All-Star Game. Voting runs through June 30.
Stammen, along with Major Leaguers Justin Verlander (Detroit Tigers), Nick Swisher (Cleveland Indians), Barry Zito (San Francisco Giants), Jonny Gomes (Boston Red Sox), Brad Ziegler (Arizona Diamondbacks) and Chase Headley (San Diego Padres), helped select the brave individuals to show his appreciation for our troops’ service both locally and overseas. General Peter W. Chiarelli (retired) and General John M. “Jack” Keane (retired) also served on the panel.
Learn more about the following three heroes, who are the finalists selected to represent the Washington Nationals:
John Belcher of Tunkhannock, Pa., served honorably for nearly 10 years as a Marine with tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, earning numerous citations and medals for his bravery in combat. After his discharge, John began his career helping veterans. He interned for a U.S. Congressman and after only a few months was promoted to serve as the office’s Veteran Affairs Representative. In this position, he helped more than 600 veterans work through issues with Veterans Affairs. After a year, John was again promoted, to his current position of District Director, where he continues to aid veterans. Additionally, John has served as the Veterans Service Officer with his local American Legion post.
“Service Before Self” is how Lori Kelly of Alexandria, Va., lives. Lori has served in the Air Force for 23 years and has earned many decorations throughout her career. She was recently named a Chief Master Sergeant select and handpicked to serve as the Senior Enlisted Aide to the Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force, General Larry Spencer. Lori works frequently with the Honor Flight program, recently escorting a group of 102 WWII veterans from Alabama to all of the memorials in Washington, D.C. The single mom also volunteers frequently at DC Central Kitchen, a food recycling and culinary training organization, and is an Assistant Scout Master and a Band Mom at her son’s school.
Julie Weckerlein of Centreville, Va., served 13-plus years in the Air Force with assignments in Germany, Italy, Ohio and at the Pentagon, as well as deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan as a combat correspondent. As a public affairs non-commissioned officer, she shared the Air Force story through print and photography. A proud wife, mother and long time blogger, Julie has been interviewed on military and veteran matters by news outlets including NBC and CNN. She now works in social media for the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, D.C., where part of her job involves raising awareness for veteran employment opportunities.
The chosen honoree will join 29 other representatives from across the League for All-Star Week festivities, including recognition during the pregame ceremony leading up to the 2013 All-Star Game at Citi Field on July 16 on FOX. One of the 30 honorees will also be featured in the July 22 issue of ‘PEOPLE,’ which hits newsstands Friday, July 12, the week of the MLB All-Star Game.
Tribute for Heroes supports Welcome Back Veterans and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, as well as “PEOPLE First: Help America’s Veterans,” the magazine’s 2013 charity initiative.
Honor our military heroes and the red, white and blue by voting today.