Amazing Experience At The Annual Run To Home Base

The Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital’s Home Base Program helps Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their families heal from the invisible wounds of war—post-traumatic stress (PTS) and traumatic brain injury (TBI)—by providing worl

d-class clinical care, community education, and research. These invisible wounds are estimated to affect one-in-three returning veterans, and can impact the entire family.

All participants must agree during registration to raise a minimum of $750 towards the Home Base Program, but each participant can set whatever goal they wish to attain. As stated, this was my second year participating in this event and I am truly amazed at what our armed forces and their families go through as a result of war and combat. I was happy to have raised over $2,100 thanks to many friends, co-workers, colleagues, and family who donated to my run.

This event had over two thousand five hundred participants including over three hundred active military members. It was an extremely patriotic and meaningful day that can only make you appreciate the sacrifices our armed forces and their families make every day.

The guest speaker was a former soldier named John Girouard who served our country in Afghanistan and said he was “honored’ to be approached to speak about his service and what he encountered. He spoke from the heart and did not read from any notes. He spoke about serving with his unit and it was described on how they were ambushed and he and other members of his unit were wounded. It was described how he was wounded and before losing consciousness that he pulled a member of his unit to safety and administered first aid.

Upon dealing with his wounds, he was discharged and sent home to Massachusetts. He described how he had a hard time dealing with everyday life and assimilating back into everyday life. He talked about how friends and family would consistently ask him if he was “ok” and he would consistently say he was “fine”. He spoke about one day when his mother sat with him and stated “you know it’s ok if you are not ok”. This led to him reaching out to the home base program and getting the help he needed.

He spoke about his unit and how many had taken their own lives since coming home including one just the day before in Florida. Fenway Park was quiet as he spoke and you could see the tears and reactions of everyone listening to Mr. Girouard tell his story. He went on to thank his personal counselor for “saving my life” and encouraged everyone to seek assistance when needed.

This day hit me very hard last year when it was my first year and it again made me realize what our soldiers and the families go through to defend our great country. I will always be a part of this event as long as I am physically able. I again ask if you see a soldier to please thank him or her, and the family, if they are with them. They are making the ultimate sacrifice for us and our country and we should be forever grateful. Freedom is never free.

Submitted by Mark Dearbown, Vice President – Corporate Accounts, Arpin Group, Inc.