DETROIT -- Justin Verlander has received plenty of honors for his success on the field. He probably won't be honored for his performance this season, but his work off the field will be recognized this week.
Verlander is the first active Major League player to be recognized with the Bob Feller Act of Valor Award. He'll be honored Wednesday night during a gala at the U.S. Navy Memorial in Washington.
The award was created earlier this year to honor the legacy of Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller, who enlisted in the Navy for World War II immediately after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Awards will be given out annually to a current Major League player, a Hall of Famer and a Navy service member. Yogi Berra was honored earlier this year. U.S. Navy Chief Hospital Corpsman Garth Sinclair will be honored alongside Verlander on Wednesday.
Verlander's award recognizes the work he has put in to honor veterans who have returned home from Iraq and Afghanistan. It began two years ago with the Victory for Veterans program, in which injured veterans were able to watch a game from his luxury suite at Comerica Park on a day he starts. It continued this past August with his creation of the Wins and Warriors initiative, committing $1 million to support mental health efforts for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans in Detroit and Virginia.
"They face challenges when they return that most people don't understand," Verlander said at the time. "The thing is, these men and women are taught to be brave and strong, and when they come home, they're not going to be the first ones to raise their hands and say, 'Hey, I need help.' We need to go out there and extend our arm to try to help these men and women."