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Headley involved in 'Tribute for Heroes' campaign

Headley involved in 'Tribute for Heroes' campaign

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SAN DIEGO -- Mary Ann Holman, Josh Hooker and Nick Kimmel are the Padres three finalists in the "Tribute for Heroes" campaign, a national initiative by Major League Baseball and People magazine that recognizes military veterans.

The field has been narrowed down to 90 nationwide, three from each team, and fans are encouraged to visit TributeForHeroes.com to vote on their favorite stories until June 30.

One winner from each team will be included in the festivities during All-Star Week and recognized on July 16 before the 2013 All-Star Game at Citi Field.

Third baseman Chase Headley was among the guest panel that had the unenviable task of narrowing down the field to 90.

"I read the first three and I was like, 'I'm supposed to narrow this down?'" Headley said. "It's very difficult, because everybody you looked at, you feel like they deserved to receive that honor, to go to the All-Star Game and be on the field and all that stuff.

"It was tough. I just sat down with [wife] Casey, sort of reviewed everything, talked about all the accomplishments, what they've been through, what opportunities they have had in the past to get to do something like this. There is really no good way to do it, because they are all such worthy candidates."

Holman became a member of Team Red White and Blue -- an organization that connects veterans to their community through physical and social activity -- after being discharged from the Navy. She is also a member of Team Rubicon Region 8, a veteran group that works as a disaster relief team.

Hooker served as an Army Scout team member after enlisting right after his high school graduation. While in Iraq in 2006, his vehicle was struck by an Improvised Explosive Device, killing his good friend and mangling his left leg. That leg is amputated below the knee, and Hooker now does some volunteer work in the community and is a local high school football coach.

Instead of pursuing a baseball scholarship at Arizona State University, Kimmel enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2008. In his second deployment to Afghanistan, he step on an IED, losing both legs above the knee and his left arm above the elbow. He's is able to weld, drive a car and snowboard with the help of his high-tech X2 legs, and he returns to his high school to talk to the high school drafting and welding class about those legs. He has been awarded the Purple Heart, a Combat Action Ribbon and a Navy Achievement Award.

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. Jamal Collier is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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