ST. PETERSBURG -- Brad Snyder of Bethesda, Md., is the Rays' People Magazine "Tribute for Heroes" winner.
Thirty winners will be recognized at the 2013 All-Star Game on FOX and in a special pregame ceremony July 16th at Citi Field. One winner will appear in the July 22 issue of People Magazine.
The "Tribute for Heroes" campaign is a national initiative that recognizes veterans and military service members and which builds upon both organizations' commitment to honoring the country's heroes.
All of the winners, each representing one of the 30 MLB Clubs, will be included in All-Star Week festivities and will attend and be honored during the pregame ceremony leading up to the 2013 All-Star Game at Citi Field.
Fans nationwide cast their votes at TributeForHeroes.com to select 30 winners from a pool of 90 finalists.
Inspiring stories include heroes from multiple branches of the Armed Forces ranging in ages from 26 to 92 years old (World War II through Afghanistan).
Snyder was in a combat zone in Kandahar in 2011 when an IED explosion injured two of his team members as they were walking through an uncleared field. While rushing to provide medical assistance, he stepped on a second IED. The explosion burned his face and blinded him, but he did not let that defeat him.
After the accident, Snyder rediscovered his life-long love of swimming. Less than a year later, he was selected for the USA Paralympics swim team for the 2012 London Games and won two golds, a silver and set a number of American records and a Paralympics record.
Snyder advocates for wounded veterans and the Paralympics movement. He also supports charities that helped him through his rehabilitation. Synder has used his gifts as an inspirational athlete to serve as an incredible role model for thousands of veterans and disabled Americans who face similar challenges.
All stories can be found at TributeForHeroes.com. Along with MLB and People, a guest panel including Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli (retired) and Gen. John M. "Jack" Keane (retired), alongside MLB players Justin Verlander of the Tigers, Nick Swisher of the Indians, Barry Zito of the Giants, Jonny Gomes of the Red Sox, Brad Ziegler of the Diamondbacks, Chase Headley of the Padres and Craig Stammen of the Nationals assisted in the selection process for the 90 finalists, who were then voted on by fans to select the 30 winners.
The "Tribute For Heroes" campaign supports Welcome Back Veterans, 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.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less