Military Veterans Get ‘Tribute for Heroes’ Honor
From a Defense Finance and Accounting Service News Release
INDIANAPOLIS, July 11, 2013 Injured Army veteran Jeffrey Mittman and 29 other military veterans will be honored July 16 during Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game held at Citi Field in Queens, home of the New York Mets.
Mittman and the other finalists were chosen by People magazine and MLB in their joint “Tribute for Heroes” campaign. Each finalist was selected after receiving the highest number of votes among other veterans representing their chosen MLB teams. Mittman will represent the Pittsburgh Pirates.
“Right on the heels of the Fourth of July, I couldn’t be more honored to be recognized amongst such a distinguished group of patriots -- at a game of baseball no less,” Mittman said. “You can’t get more American than that.
“My first memory of baseball is watching Pittsburgh in the ’79 World Series,” he continued, “so my connection to the Pirates began very early.”
The heroes will participate in the All-Star pre-game ceremony and All-Star Week festivities. One of the “Tribute for Heroes” winners will be featured in People magazine. The event and subsequent game will be broadcast on the Fox network July 16 at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time and 4:30 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time.
A roadside bomb left Mittman nearly blind and with severe injuries while he was serving as a U.S. Army advisor to the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior on July 7, 2005. Mittman, who was driving a team of soldiers in a Humvee that came under attack from unseen assailants, sustained the brunt of the explosion. He was left without a nose, lips, most of his teeth and the majority of his vision.
After enduring more than 40 operations, Mittman’s face was reconstructed and he successfully adapted to life with limited vision. After retiring from the Army in 2011, Mittman worked for the National Industries for the Blind before joining the Defense Finance and Accounting Service as a public affairs specialist.
“There’s no one I can think of that exemplifies an American hero and deserves recognition more than Jeff,” said Aaron Gillison, the director at DFAS Indianapolis and Executive Champion for the DFAS Hire A Hero Program. “His attitude and uplifting message of perseverance and continuing service despite incredible adversity has inspired not only his co-workers, but thousands of others who have been lucky enough to hear his story.”
Mittman is a nationally sought-after public speaker and regularly advocates on behalf of disabled Americans and veterans. He received three Bronze Star medals, the Purple Heart and numerous other awards for combat actions during his nearly 22-year military career.
Mittman’s non-military national awards include the 2010 Osborne "Oz" Day Award presented by the federal government for increasing public awareness of the federal AbilityOne Program, and the Lighthouse International's 2007 Henry A. Grunwald Award honoring outstanding public service.