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11/11/11 10:34 AM EST

MLB, players pitch in to 'Rise and Honor' show

'Extreme Makeover: Home Edition' special to air tonight at 8 ET

Shane Victorino of the Phillies, Clay Buchholz of the Red Sox and Daniel Murphy of the Mets are among the many stars participating on this Veterans Day as Major League Baseball encourages fans to tune into ABC at 8 p.m. ET for a special "Rise and Honor" episode of the Emmy Award-winning "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" reality TV show.

Rise and Honor is a program that raises critical funds to support important reintegration services for veterans and their loved ones. The program will benefit not only MLB's Welcome Back Veterans initiative, but also veteran service organizations, including Fisher House Foundation, Hire Heroes USA, Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, United Service Organizations and Volunteers of America.

These organizations provide vital services and support to our nation's veterans and their families, including housing, job placement, health care, rehabilitation and mental health treatment.

"We are thrilled to partner with ABC and the 'Extreme Makeover: Home Edition' team to honor the brave men and women who have sacrificed so much for our country," said Entertainment Industry Foundation president Lisa Paulsen. "We hope this inspiring program will rally Americans to give back to our military families and support organizations that provide vital services to our veterans and their families.

"We've highlighted the difficult struggles our veterans often face when returning home. We are so proud to take this a step further with a moving tribute to our nation's heroes, while inspiring Americans to give back to those who've given our country so much," said George Verschoor, executive producer of the show, which is co-hosted by Ty Pennington and the entertainer Jewel.

The "Rise and Honor" show will revisit some of the most heartwarming military stories featured over the years. Additionally, celebrities will highlight issues veterans face after serving in the military, as well as the strengths and skills returning veterans bring to the work force and their communities. The program will culminate in a live musical performance by Jewel, to an audience comprised of active-duty service members, veterans and their families.

Fans can watch a behind-the-scenes video clip of the appearances by Victorino, Buchholz and Murphy, as they thank others for tuning in for the show. Other celebrities featured will include Whoopi Goldberg, George Lopez, J.R. Martinez, Rachael Ray, Sherri Shepherd and Robin Williams.

As of June 30, 2010, Veterans Affairs had treated 594,000 Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran patients. Of those, 295,000 were diagnosed with at least one mental health condition such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

In addition, some face a grim economic reality. As recently as January 2011, the unemployment rate among veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars was 15 percent. Their sacrifice extends to their families, as more than 700,000 children have experienced one or more parental deployments.

"All across the country, we have talented and dedicated veterans who have been unemployed for far too long," said Hilda Solis, secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor. "These service men and women are right here and ready to get back to work. They just need a little help from all of us to find a good job at a fair wage and successfully transition from military to civilian life. We applaud ABC and the Entertainment Industry Foundation for broadcasting this special show to raise awareness of the needs of our returning veterans and their families."

Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.