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Yankees announce 'Tribute to Heroes' hopefuls

OAKLAND -- Three Yankees fans have been announced as part of a "Tribute for Heroes" campaign organized by Major League Baseball and People Magazine, honoring the nation's veterans and military service members.

The candidates selected to represent the Yankees are:

Kalynn Casey of Phelan, Calif., a member of the 82nd Airborne Division and now an Airborne Army medic who has served tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and was among some of the first-ever female cultural support team members for special forces. While in Afghanistan, Kalynn ran a local medical facility for women and children. She is also an athlete and has been a member of the Army 10-miler team, winning the Army 10-mile race with the Fort Bragg team in Washington, D.C.

JW Cortes of Jersey City, N.J., who has had a 10-year career in the New York City MTA Police Department after serving in the Marine Corps from 1994 to 2007. He was twice awarded the Navy Marine Corps Achievement medal and has been named Marine of the Year. His 4-year-old son was diagnosed with autism and Cortes is a self-proclaimed warrior for Autism Speaks, as well as the Wounded Warrior Project.

Jonathan Popovich of Pompton Lakes, N.J., who served with the 82nd Airborne Division in Iraq in 2003 as part of the initial invasion force. He has received many military honors including a Combat Action Badge, the Bronze Star Medal, the Presidential Unit Citation and the Ranger Tab. He is now a readjustment counselor at a local Vet Center and has organized dozens of programs and outreach events while providing counseling to returning veterans and their families.

Voting will be conducted at through June 30, with 30 winners to be recognized before the All-Star Game on July 16 at Citi Field.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat.
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