When he returned home from serving overseas, Col. Paul G. Kirk was among a generation of soldiers met with a hero’s welcome. As commanding officer of the 101st Infantry Regiment, he served with the 26th (Yankee) Division of the Massachusetts National Guard and the 7th U.S. Army in France, receiving five battle stars in Europe during World War II.
Col. Kirk endured the horrors of war, but mourning for his fallen comrades and friends was the only ongoing injury his family recalls. “Thankfully, he was blessed,” said his son, former U.S. Senator Paul G. Kirk, Jr. of Massachusetts. “He came through the war with no physical wounds, although I’m sure there were emotional wounds and wounds of the heart.”
For many of today’s veterans and families, however, returning home doesn’t necessarily mean the war is over. A member of the Armed Forces and Homeland Security committees during his tenure in the Senate, Mr. Kirk repeatedly witnessed the traumatic after effects of war.
Then he attended the launch of The Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program at a 2009 Veteran’s Day event at Fenway Park. Home Base provides lifesaving care to veterans and their families affected by post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury.
Meeting young veterans that day stirred him to invest in the program’s future. Mr. Kirk used appreciated stock to establish a charitable gift annuity. The gift allowed him to defer and spread out the capital gains he would pay if he simply sold the stock himself. This tax benefit, along with the ongoing stream of income to him and his wife, Gail made the charitable gift annuity the right vehicle for his philanthropy at Mass General. And Home Base was the obvious choice for the annuity assets to eventually support.
Such future support designated through a charitable gift annuity, a will, or other charitable estate provision is just what Home Base needs, according to Brigadier General (ret.) Jack Hammond, Home Base’s executive director. “Our goal is to ensure long-term program stability and growth well into the future,” he stated. “We are so grateful for this gift from Senator Kirk and hope that others will follow his example.”
Senator Kirk shares that hope. “There is a debt that we owe,” he stated. Philanthropic support of Home Base represents “an opportunity for us as citizens to do something patriotic in support of our invisibly wounded veterans by sharing in their continuing sacrifice.”
This planned gift was devised, Mr. Kirk continued, as he considered his own [ mortality and ] estate plans. Fittingly, he established the charitable gift annuity as a lasting tribute to his own father. “My father was a patriot who respected all branches of service,” Mr. Kirk concluded. “He would have been proud to be associated with Home Base.”
To read more, please visit: giving.massgeneral.org/kirk-partner-to-veterans