CHICAGO -- Kevin Burciaga, an Upland, Calif., native who spent six years serving in the United States Marine Corps, was selected by fans to represent the Angels in Major League Baseball's "Tribute for Heroes" campaign.
The program, done in conjunction with MLB and PEOPLE Magazine, identifies one winner for each team as part of a national initiative to recognize veterans and military-service members. The 30 winners will be included in All-Star Week festivities and be honored during a ceremony prior to Tuesday's Midsummer Classic at Citi Field.
Burciaga, 27, spent a full year in Iraq and was part of the Incident Response Team, which focused on detonating homemade bombs. He earned numerous medals throughout his service time, then donated his bone marrow to a complete stranger shortly after returning home -- and spending his birthday recovering in the emergency room.
Fans nationwide cast their votes TributeForHeroes.com to select 30 winners from a pool of 90 finalists. 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 D-backs, Chase Headley of the Padres and Craig Stammen of the Nationals assisted in selecting the 90 finalists, along with retired Gen. Peter Chiarelli, MLB and PEOPLE Magazine.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.