ARLINGTON -- Rocky Bloom of Clarksville, Zach Briseno of Fort Worth and Chance Nix of Sachse are the Rangers' three finalists for the Tribute for Heroes campaign, a national initiative that recognizes veterans and military service members. All three will be honored in a pregame ceremony prior to the Rangers' game against the Reds on June 29 at the Ballpark in Arlington.
One winner from each of the 30 MLB Clubs will be included in All-Star Week festivities and recognized during the pregame ceremony leading up to the 2013 All-Star Game at Citi Field on July 16th.
Bloom served in the U.S. Navy for 10 years and in the U.S. Army for four more. On Nov. 14, 2010, he saved the lives of several soldiers, securing an Afghan machine gun and preventing the enemy from overrunning his platoon's position. For his act of valor, he was awarded a Purple Heart and a Silver Star. He suffers from a traumatic brain injury, PTSD, and major depression. He has been working with SAFE: Soldiers and Families Embraced, and will attend college this fall with the goal of becoming an advocate for disabled veterans.
Briseno served in the United States Marines. In 2007, while on patrol in Fallujah, Iraq, his convoy hit an IED. The explosion blew a hole in the floorboard beneath him, mangling his legs and right arm. He received a Purple Heart. A fellow double amputee helped Briseno change his outlook on his situation while at the Naval Medical Center. He was also nominated for the American Patriot Award by Operation Military Embrace president Jerry Reed.
Nix fought for the U.S. Marines in the second Battle of Fallujah, driving the lead vehicle of the scout element for 506 convoys across Iraq. He discovered more than 30 IEDs and thus saved numerous lives. He was wounded in action and received a Purple Heart, a Combat Action Ribbon, two certificates of commendation and several other honors. Honorably discharged in 2011, Chance now works as an EMT and pediatric worker in Sachse.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.