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For Cishek, visit to military hospital is personal

For Cishek, visit to military hospital is personal

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For Cishek, visit to military hospital is personal

MIAMI --The sacrifices made by the armed forces hit close to home for Marlins closer Steve Cishek.

A childhood friend, Julia, is preparing for a tour of duty in Afghanistan, and Cishek's father-in-law works as a jet mechanic at Otis Air National Guard Base located near Falmouth, Mass.

"It kind of worries you, especially when, with Julia, I've known her all my life, and she's going out there and putting her life on the line," Cishek said. "But she's doing it for our freedom, and that's something we all appreciate."

Cishek and left-handed reliever Mike Dunn visited military service members at the Veteran Affairs Hospital in Miami on Tuesday.

"They're looking up to us, and we're really there looking up to them," Dunn said. "It was a lot of fun to talk to all those guys and just be able to spend some time with them."

Cishek and Dunn visited for an hour and gave away tickets to Tuesday night's game against the Brewers.

Dunn said a couple of the veterans he spoke with come to Marlins Park on select Mondays for "South Florida Heroes Mondays," which features complimentary tickets for active and retired military personnel, veterans, first responders and military citizens.

Others, Dunn said, plan on attending Marlins games once they have recovered from upcoming medical procedures.

But Dunn does not want to wait for the veterans to come see him at Marlins Park.

"I want to do it more than just once a year," Dunn said. "Kind of stop in now and then and say hi and talk to different people and maybe even see the same person again."

Major League Baseball is honoring those who have served by partnering with People Magazine in the "Tribute for Heroes" campaign.

Ninety finalists -- three for each of MLB's 30 clubs -- have been announced as candidates to be honored prior to this year's All-Star Game. Fans can vote for one winner to represent each team at Citi Field on July 16.

Voting runs through June 20.

The Marlins' three finalists are SFC John Kloiber of Crestview, Fla., Air Force Medical Tech Kristi Nascimbeni of Travis AFB in California and Benjamin Pilgrim, a Jacksonville, Fla. native and the Leading Chief Petty Officer of the Aircrew Shop aboard the USS Enterprise.

Christina De Nicola is a contributor to MLB.com. Joe Morgan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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