There’s a lot to love about Boston. Like the guy I went to field training with who yelled “Road ga’ds out, road ga’ds in” – made me smile every time! Or the delicious corned beef and pastrami sandwiches that the hubby and I tried on our anniversary trip there. And now I get to add one more thing to love about Boston – the Home Base Program.
In 2007, the Red Sox visited Walter Reed. What was supposed to be a 45-minute visit turned into four hours and served as the impetus for The Home Base Program, which was created by the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital in 2009. Its goal is to assist Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their families (including parents, siblings, and partners) who are coping with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and “combat or deployment-related stress.” These services are open to all veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, including Guard and Reserve, regardless of character of discharge.
Services include: couples counseling, free support groups for parents and siblings of servicemembers and veterans coping with TBI and PTSD, individualized treatment plans including virtual reality therapy (similar to the kind Dr. Beidel talked about in her “Front & Center” interview), community referrals, and MST counseling. Services are provided by a team of highly educated (we’re talking Harvard here, folks), experienced, award-winning civilian clinicians, psychologists, and social workers. The Home Base Program also has a team of Outreach Coordinators, almost all of whom are veterans who have been deployed to combat zones (the one exception is a military mom whose son and son-in-law have combat zone experience and whose daughter is at the Naval Academy).
The website warns that, by law, they must bill any health insurance you have for their services. However, if you are uninsured or if there is an insurance gap, you “will never receive a bill from” them. Their services are primarily open to servicemembers and veterans in the New England area, though they are working on a “telemedicine” program for veterans outside their service area. Those who choose to call can expect an appointment within roughly two weeks and to also be connected with a fellow veteran.
Also, for those of you runners out there, the 5th Annual “Run to Home Base” is scheduled for 19 July. This 9K run and 3K walk, which starts and ends in the famed Fenway Park, is sponsored by New Balance to raise money for the Home Base Program. Participants wishing to run will be required to pay a $25 registration fee and then meet a fundraising goal (between $250 and $1000 for adults). Active duty servicemembers can pay a $50 registration fee and have no fundraising requirement. Registration is open and early bird registration, which requires a lower fundraising goal, closes 15 May (that’s this Thursday!).
You can find out more about the Home Base Program on their webpage. You can also find out details about the run, as well as their other initiatives, such as their upcoming “Resilient Warrior Course” (a free, four-week stress management course for servicemembers and veterans) on their Facebook page or their Twitter feed.
© 2014, Sarah Maples. All rights reserved.