KANSAS CITY -- Major League Baseball and People magazine announced three finalists on Tuesday to represent the Tigers in the Tribute for Heroes campaign, a national initiative around the All-Star Game to recognize veteran and military service members for their work.
Tigers All-Star Justin Verlander was on a guest panel of players and retired service members who helped select the finalists.
Three finalists were selected for each Major League team. Among the Tigers' finalists was Lee Armstrong, a 10-time Navy medal winner who currently serves in Toledo as executive director of the Lucas County Veterans Service Commission, helping provide emergency financial and Federal claims assistance for veterans. He is also president and chairman of Honor Flight Northwest Ohio, which has transported more than 1,450 veterans to Washington to see the various memorials at no charge.
Cory Gritter of Rockville, Md., served as a marine scout sniper before suffering significant shrapnel wounds from an IED explosion during a mission in Afghanistan. After spending three years recovering at Bethesda Naval Medical Center, he has founded a cyber security company to help transitioning veterans find careers. He has volunteered with Toys for Tots, and he recently completed the Marine Corps Marathon to raise money for Hire Our Heroes.
Colonel Rodney Williams of Southfield, Mich., was the first African-American Colonel in the Michigan Air National Guard and served as the national youth chair of the Tuskegee Airman for four years. He also worked as a senior executive fellow at Harvard. Since retiring, Williams works as the Air Force Academy liaison officer, encouraging young people to serve, and he was appointed to the Detroit City Council Veterans Task Force to create jobs and educational opportunities for veterans.
Fans can learn more about their stories, read other heroes' stories, and vote on their choices at tributeforheroes.com. Voting runs through June 30.
The Tribute For Heroes campaign supports Welcome Back Veterans, which is an initiative of Major League Baseball, and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, which provides grants to hospitals and clinics that provide post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury treatment to veterans and their families.