Act Of Valor Award Foundation Announces 2016 Winners

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The Bob Feller Act of Valor Awards Foundation Announces
Rod Carew and Brad Ziegler as the 2016 Baseball Honorees
Navy and Marine Corps Honorees to Join at Annual Award Ceremony 

The Bob Feller Act of Valor Award Foundation is excited to announce the winners of the 2016 Bob Feller Act of Valor Award. This award recognizes six recipients – one Baseball Hall of Famer, one current Major League Baseball player, one U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer, two Peer-to-Peer Mentoring Awards (one Afloat Command, one Ashore Command) and the United States Marine Corps (USMC) Jerry Coleman Award.  Each honoree possesses the values, integrity, and dedication to serving our country that Bob Feller himself displayed.

This year, the honorees are Rod Carew, Brad Ziegler, Senior Chief Petty Officer Christopher Beeding USN; USS CONSTITUTION; Training Support Center Great Lakes; and Gunnery Sergeant Marshall Cleveland USMC. The winners will be honored at the Fourth Annual Awards Ceremony at the US Navy Memorial, in Washington, DC on Thursday, November 17th.

During Rod Carew’s illustrious career, he was selected to eighteen All-Star teams and had a lifetime batting average of .328. In his twelve seasons with the Minnesota Twins, and seven with the California Angels, Rod amassed 3,053 career hits and won seven batting titles. Rod and Willie Mays are the only players in baseball history to be Rookie of the Year, Most Valuable Player, have over 3,000 hits and be voted into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot. This past summer, MLB announced that the American League batting title would be renamed the Rod Carew American League Batting Title.

Rod Carew served in the US Marine Corps reserve during his baseball career, joining the Marine Corps in 1965 and serving on active duty with Headquarters Company, 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd FSSG at Camp Lejeune, NC. In 2002, Rod was inducted into the United States Marine Corps Sports Hall of Fame.

Carew, after suffering a massive heart attack last fall, is working with the American Heart Association and the Twins on a fundraising campaign called the Heart of 29 which will urge people to get their hearts checked. Carew’s advocacy for heart health is similar to his positive effect on raising awareness, especially among minorities, to register their bone marrow for donor transplants after he lost his daughter to leukemia.

Brad Ziegler, whose grandfather served in the Korean War as a colonel in the Army, started his Pastime for Patriots (PFP) Foundation in 2010 in support of members of the United States military and their families. PFP has donated nearly 40,000 tickets to service members and their families and has donated thousands of dollars to an annual partnership with the Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund to offer assistance to select high school seniors who have lost a parent in military service.

“Wow. I’m just blown away. I know there are many other players who have done incredible things for the military, as have the guys who’ve received the award in past years. To be mentioned with that group of players is really special. I’m just grateful to be in a position to help out our troops and the families of our military, because they sacrifice so much for us every single day,” said Ziegler. Kristen Ziegler, Brad’s wife, joins in helping military families also and assisted with baby showers co-hosted with Operation Showers of Appreciation in the Phoenix metro area for military spouses. In 2010, Brad visited with U.S. troops stationed near Djibouti, Africa.

Globally and at home, PFP has organized mission trips to Honduras as well with other participating MLB players to provide materials and labor to build a learning center, meals and gifts to orphans. Brad is a charter member of the Taylor Hooton Foundation’s MLB Advisory Board, whose mission is to educate young athletes about the dangers of appearance and performance enhancing drugs and has a field named after him in Arizona for his work with the “Diamonds Back” Field Building Program.  Brad Ziegler was nominated by the Arizona Diamondbacks prior to his trade to the Boston Red Sox.

AWOCS (NAC/AW) Christopher Beeding enlisted in the Navy in September 2001 and has served with distinction ever since.  He completed three deployments to Fifth and Seventh Fleets with Patrol Squadron Forty (VP-40) and amassed over 2,500 flight hours.  He also has served multiple tours as an instructor.

Senior Chief Beeding is not only an inspirational and proactive leader in the Navy; he is a highly motivated mentor and leader in his community. He coordinated 50 events with 155 Sailors and Marines resulting in 1365 hours of volunteer service (including 148 hours personally) in both the Pensacola, FL and Oak Harbor, WA local communities.  These events included work with Veterans Organizations, a local Middle School, Adopt a Highway and Habitat for Humanity.

The Peer-to-Peer Mentoring Award honors groups of junior Sailors that have excelled in encouraging other Sailors to embody the Navy’s core values of honor, courage, and commitment, and have worked together to promote peer-to-peer mentorship and reduce destructive personal decision-making and behaviors. This year’s recipients in the Afloat and Ashore categories are USS CONSTITUTION and Training Support Center Great Lakes.

Gunnery Sergeant Marshall Cleveland is the recipient of the Jerry Coleman Award, which honors a Marine Non-commissioned Officer possessing outstanding leadership and unyielding support for the Marine Corps and the United States of America. Gunnery Sergeant Cleveland enlisted in June 2000 and embodies the highest ideals as a Marine both on base and in the community. He inspires trust and confidence and is a leader amongst his peers.  His impact as an instructor on young Marines leaves an indelible mark on their professional and personal development. In 2013, Staff Sergeant Cleveland was transferred to the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center in Bridgeport, CA and was recently transferred to the School of Infantry, where he currently serves as a Company Gunnery Sergeant.

Along with Brad Ziegler, 15 other Major League Baseball players and personnel were named finalists for the 2016 Bob Feller Act of Valor Award: Darren O’Day, Baltimore Orioles; Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox; David Robertson, Chicago White Sox; Corey Kluber; Cleveland Indians; Scott Feldman, Houston Astros and Toronto Blue Jays; Wade Davis, Kansas City Royals; Ron Fairly, Los Angeles Dodgers; Jeff Conine and Mike Dunn, Miami Marlins; Jimmy Nelson, Milwaukee Brewers; Brian Dozier, Minnesota Twins; Sean Doolittle, Oakland Athletics; Matt Moore, Tampa Bay Rays and San Francisco Giants; Bobby Jones, Texas Rangers; and Jake Peavy, San Francisco Giants. Several nominees were honored with on-field ceremonies during the season.

Previous baseball winners of the award include Hall of Famers Yogi Berra, Tommy Lasorda and George Brett plus MLB players Justin Verlander, Nick Swisher and Jonathan Lucroy. Previous Navy, Peer to Peer and Marine Corps honorees are Senior Chief Hospital Corpsman Garth Sinclair, Senior Chief Petty Officer Carl Thompson, Chief Petty Officer Genell Cody, USS Carl Vinson(CVN-70), HOPPERInformationServices Center and Staff Sergeant Rene Segura, USMC.

While many know Bob Feller as one of the greatest pitchers to ever grace the baseball diamond, few remember that he also served our country when he made the selfless decision to enlist just days after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Feller served on missions in both the Pacific and the North Atlantic, and earned the rank of Chief Petty Officer along with six campaign ribbons and eight battle stars. When asked about the most important victory he had won, Feller famously replied without hesitation, “World War II.”

Peter Fertig created The Bob Feller Act of Valor Award with the support of the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial, the Cleveland Indians, Major League Baseball, the Baseball Hall of Fame, the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association, and the gracious consent of Mrs. Anne Feller, the San Diego Padres, and the family of Jerry Coleman.

“It is truly inspiring to watch these players within major league baseball honor our U.S. Military and those who serve proudly today,” said Fertig. “Bob Feller led his generation onto the field of battle and away from the baseball diamond for a more significant reason. The legacy of Bob Feller and the greatest generation are embodied throughout these players and their respective clubs for honoring those who serve this great nation, and for this we are forever grateful.”

Continued Fertig, “As a foundation, we look forward to setting a new standard for social responsibility, by educating the youngest generation of the virtues of Citizenship, Service, Sacrifice and Legacy. And through these efforts, we can provide a powerful example that will inspire and excite today’s generation, and acknowledge the heroes of past and present generations.”

The Navy Memorial includes both a commemorative public plaza and a Naval Heritage Center. The plaza is a round ceremonial amphitheater paved in granite to form a 100-foot diameter of the world.

The Navy Memorial is located at 701 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Washington, DC.

 

Media Contact: Peter Fertig                                                               
Peter Fertig 516-901-5969 
pfertig@actofvaloraward.org

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