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07/14/11 6:06 PM ET

Military Appreciation Day

Padres honor Purple Heart recipient as part of pre-game ceremony

As the "Team of the Military," the Padres take their relationship with the Armed Forces very seriously and are proud to have frequent opportunities to recognize our nation's true heroes.

On Sunday July 17, the Padres and "Stand and Salute American Heroes" teamed up to honor a Purple Heart recipient from California as part of Military Appreciation Day presented by Northrop Grumman.

Sunday's honoree was United States Marine Corps Sergeant Thomas Humphrey III. In October of 2010, Sgt. Humphrey was deployed to Sangin, Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. On November 9, Sgt. Humphrey led his squad in an attempt to help a fellow squad leader evacuate a Marine who had stepped on an IED. They managed to distract the enemy long enough for his squad to get the casualty back inside friendly lines.

When Sgt. Humphrey and others then attempted to maneuver on the enemies' machine gun position, he stepped on a pressure plate IED. The injuries he suffered in the incident resulted in the amputation of his right leg below the knee, severe damage to his left leg, a fractured jaw and shrapnel wounds to his left thigh and left arm. He also suffered a mild traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. He was evacuated to Bethesda Naval Hospital and subsequently Balboa Naval Hospital in San Diego.

To honor Sgt. Humphrey's courageous actions and sacrifice, he was presented with a Stand and Salute American Heroes engraved bat. The presentation was made by Kelly Luisi, the national director and CFO of "Our Heroes Journey" and co-founder of the "Our Fallen Solder" organization. Sgt. Humphrey also delivered Sunday's ceremonial first pitch.

As part of the Military Appreciation Day celebration, the Padres also recognized the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society. Founded in 1904, the mission of this group has been to provide financial, educational and other assistance to Sailors, Marines and their families.

Throughout its history, the Society has provided over $1.1 billion in financial assistance to over four million active and retired servicemen and women. In 2010, the San Diego area Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society provided $12.5 million in financial assistance to nearly 25,000 Sailors and Marines.

Senior Counselor Jill Stull of the San Diego office was on-hand Sunday to represent the Society.

And finally, what would a Sunday be without Marine Recruits taking in some Padres baseball. Fans as Military Appreciation Day were joined by Drill Instructors and Recruits from MIKE Company, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, Recruit Training Regiment at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.