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DENVER -- During Saturday's Game 3 telecast of the first World Series game ever at Coors Field, the first of two national public service advertising (PSA) campaigns entitled "Welcome Back Veterans" will debut on FOX.
Major League Baseball Charities teamed with The Advertising Council for a program that educates Americans on the problems faced by veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and also encourages Americans to support their troops.
"Major League Baseball has a long and proud history of supporting our troops, and for generations baseball has undertaken patriotic activities to acknowledge veterans and current members of the military who serve and have served our country," Commissioner Bud Selig said. "We are proud to be a part of 'Welcome Back Veterans' and pleased to have the opportunity to provide invaluable support to the veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq and their families, and to help these brave men and women make a successful transition to civilian life."
The campaign also includes a new Web site, www.welcomebackveterans.org, which includes information on mental health problems veterans face, the need for jobs for veterans and the desire they have to go to college following their service.
The unemployment rate for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans under the age of 24 is three times the national average, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. One in three Iraq vets and one out of every nine Afghanistan vets suffer from mental health problems when they return from their service.
"This poignant campaign will help those who served our country with the incredible challenges that they are facing upon their return," said Peggy Conlon, president and CEO of The Advertising Council. "We are proud to join with Major League Baseball Charities on this critical effort and are grateful for the terrific exposure at the World Series."
After Saturday's PSA debuts, 16,000 media outlets throughout the US will air the PSA during advertising time and space donated by the media. The PSAs include a voiceover by Oscar Award winner Tom Hanks. The PSAs are only the first phase of MLB charities and The Advertising Council's effort to support the troops.
"Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) is extremely grateful to be involved in this exciting and important campaign. Our country's newest generation of veterans appreciates the support of Major League Baseball Charities and The Advertising Council," said Paul Rieckhoff, Executive Director, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA). "There is no better place to show support for the more than 1.5 million Americans who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan than the global audience of the World Series."