Community, Soldiers and Red Sox Foundation team up to help veterans
May 24, 2010
BOSTON - On a sunny morning in Boston, more than 2,000 runners gathered on Yawkey Way outside of Fenway Park to run nine kilometers with the finish line being one of the most famous spots in Boston... home plate of Fenway Park.
The Boston Red Sox Foundation hosted the run to raise money supporting The Home Base program which helps veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan who are suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI).
The Chief of Staff of the Army, Gen. George Casey was on hand to welcome the runners, thank them for what they are doing to help our wounded warriors and congratulate them when they crossed home plate. Casey is very familiar with the area, having graduated from Boston College High School in Dorchester, Massachusetts.
"This run is very important to our service members," said Casey. "We are working to reduce the stigma of asking for help which is half our battle. Once we reduce the stigma, we can help Soldiers recover."
The Red Sox Foundation partners with Massachusetts General Hospital for The Home Base Program. The event on Sunday raised $2.4 million to support research for PTSD and TBI.
Command Sgt. Maj. Earl Allen, the U.S. Army Garrison-Natick senior enlisted advisor and 25 Soldiers and civilians from the Natick Soldier Systems Center participated in the event.
"This was a great event where all branches of the military and the Boston community joined together to give back to our Nation's heroes," said Allen. "When I talk about the Army Community Covenant, I will always use the Run to Home Base at Fenway Park as an example. This was a great unified effort on behalf of our military and the community."
Boston Red Sox Senior Vice President of Corporate Relations and Executive Director of the Red Sox Foundation, Meg Vaillancourt spoke of how the concept of the Run to Home came about.
"Our chairman, Tom Werner, along with our team, visited Walter Reed in 2005 after winning our first World Series in 86 years to meet some of the Wounded Warriors," said Vaillancourt. "We were struck by the tremendous courage displayed by the men and women who are facing huge challenges both mental and physical. We learned that so many of them can get the medical care that they needed to repair their bodies, but PTSD and TBI were two serious challenges that the country faced, not just these men and women.
"We decided to do something about it. Mr. Werner decided with the fervor of Red Sox Nation and how terrific our fans are at opening their hearts and wallets to causes like this, that if we could team up with a great medical institution, we could make a small difference."
The run took the 2,000 runners along the Charles River and back to Fenway where they entered the park to the sound of nearly 5,000 cheering fans, ran around the warning track, past the Green Monster and finished by crossing home plate.
"It was incredibly inspirational to have Gen. Casey here," said Vaillancourt. "We're proud to call Gen. Casey a part of Red Sox Nation and to have the top man in the Army here to address PTSD and TBI; we know these are big issues for our military. Nobody gets to home plate alone and we know that nobody serves alone. Having Gen. Casey be part this was very powerful."