— Whitney Johnson
Compliance Advisor, Surveillance
Who do you run for? That was the question posed this year for the 6th annual Run to Home Base, a run/walk where the money raised goes to support the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program. For me, the answer was simple. I run for my husband, and I run for those he served with in Afghanistan. While he is not personally afflicted by many of the traumas of war that the program aims to treat, there are countless soldiers and their families who are and who rely on the services provided by the Home Base Program.
The Home Base Program is committed to helping our local, post-9/11 veterans and their families heal from the “invisible wounds of war” by providing them with world-class care at no cost. With an emphasis on providing treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress, Traumatic Brain injury, depression, relationship challenges, military sexual trauma, substance abuse, and the stress and anxiety that can result from wartime service, the program seeks to help soldiers and their families regain the lives they once had.
Bright and early on the morning of July 25, team members from across departments gathered at Fenway Park to not only run (a 9k) or walk (2 miles) but to honor those who’ve served our country so bravely. We each undoubtedly came away with our own highlights and memories from the race. Mine included sitting in a nearly empty Fenway Park (save for the over 2,400 race participants), running along the Charles River, running alongside a solider dressed in his Army fatigues holding the American flag, crossing the finish line in the shadow of the Green Monster, stepping across home plate, and (best surprise of all!) getting to shake hands with Tim Wakefield.
Of course, all of that paled in comparison to hearing U.S. Army Sergeant John Girouard speak at the opening ceremony to share his personal struggles since returning from war in Iraq. With the utmost strength and grace he articulated how the Home Base Program in effect saved his life. No matter who people were running for, the simple act of showing up to run or walk told the several hundred veterans in attendance (and those participating in the shadow run overseas in Afghanistan) that they are not alone once they return home from war.
I’d like to extend a sincere thank you to my fellow Commonwealth Run to Home Base team members who raised a combined $11,170.99, Paula O’Shaughnessy, Holly Sivec, and of course Commonwealth Cares for helping to make this fundraiser such a success! The generosity of spirit exhibited by all those involved truly made this a great event!