ST. PETERSBURG -- Major League Baseball and PEOPLE magazine announced on Wednesday the 30 winners of the "Tribute for Heroes" campaign, a national initiative recognizing veterans and military service members. Each Major League team had one winner, with Patrick Nelson of Eden Prairie, Minn., representing the Twins.
Nelson and the other 29 winners will be a part of the All-Star Week festivities in New York City. They'll get a private tour of the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, a VIP reception on the Intrepid and an appearance at the All-Star Red Carpet Show in addition to attending the Chevrolet Home Run Derby. They will attend and be honored during the pregame ceremony leading up to the All-Star Game at Citi Field.
Fans voted online for the 30 winners from a pool of 90 finalists.
Nelson is a former paratrooper with 39 months of combat experience in Iraq and Afghanistan and seven years of active duty in the Army. He was wounded in 2005 by a rocket near the Pakistani border, but returned to Afghanistan to continue fighting. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal in 2008 and became the first-ever recipient of the NFL-Tillman Scholarship, an honor given to someone who exemplifies Pat Tillman's legacy.
Nelson graduated magna cum laude from Minnesota State University in 2012. After leaving the Army, he started Real Combat Life, a nonprofit that offers veterans an online forum to share their stories. He has also volunteered for the Greater Mankato Tee It Up for the Troops golf event, which raises money for wounded veterans and their families. More recently, he began working with Minnesota businesses to help end veteran unemployment.