Members of the greater Newburyport, Massachusetts community are teaming up to help local veterans and their families.
Saturday, June 10, 2017 marks the 6th Annual Flag Day 5, held by the 1st LT Derek Hines Soldiers Assistant Fund. The fund was established by the family of Derek Hines—a Newburyport native—after he was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2005. The organization provides financial assistance for Massachusetts veterans and their families who have incurred serious, career ending, and life altering injuries while on active duty.
This year’s Flag Day 5K starts and ends in Newburyport’s Cashman Park. Funds raised in this charity event will benefit Home Base, a Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Program focused on healing the invisible wounds of war for post-9/11 veterans, service members and their families. Home Base treats those suffering from post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury, co-occurring substance use disorders, depression, anxiety, and other related challenges. They also provide care and support for family members of those struggling from the impact of war, and family members of those who have lost loved ones in or since combat.
The Hines Family has had an indelible impact on the greater Newburyport and veteran community, including resident and Home Base Chief Operating Officer Michael Allard. Allard first met the Hines family in 2008 while he was fundraising for the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and running the Boston Marathon on behalf of a family friend and local child undergoing treatment at the MGH pediatric oncology clinic. Amidst grassroots fundraising activities that year, the Allards were paid a surprise and first time visit by Sue Hines, who introduced herself as someone who had experienced the support of the greater Newburyport community– after the loss of her son, Derek– and, she wanted to pay it forward.
And ever since that tragic day in 2005 and ensuing outpouring of support, Sue and their community have paid it forward. In the wake of Derek’s death, the Hines family and friends found a new mission: to create a community of support for soldiers and their families. Their mission seamlessly aligns with that of Home Base, which launched in 2009 with Allard at the helm.
The commitment to veterans and families and the friendship between the Hines and the Allards has grown over the years. This year, the Hines Fund has seen more requests for burial support in the wake of veteran suicides than ever before. In response, the Hines Fund is redoubling their efforts and will dedicate $50,000 from the 1st LT Derek Hines Soldiers Assistant Fund Flag Day 5K to provide critical healing and support at Home Base.
“Over time we have been receiving many calls from folks who are dealing with the aftermath of a soldier’s suicide—a family suffering because their loved one could not heal from his/her invisible wound of war,” says Steve Hines, Derek’s father and Newburyport resident. “We continue to donate to Home Base because they provide the clinical care needed to help these men and women heal— and to prevent these types of calls from ever happening. Our families hope the day comes soon when we never have to provide support to a family because of suicide.”
Says Allard, “The Hines Family and their thousands of supporters from around our community allows veterans and families to heal from the invisible wounds of war – all at no cost to them. With one in 20 veterans taking their lives every day and thousands like Derek who have made the ultimate sacrifice – it is our debt of honor to come out and support the Flag Day 5K, and to assure that no veteran or family should go without healing from the impact of these wars.”
In June, and staff members from Home Base will run alongside the Hines family, friends and Derek’s battalion at the Flag Day 5K. Registration for the 6th Annual 1st Lt. Derek Hines Flag Day 5K is open now.
About 1st LT Derek Hines Soldiers Assistant Fund: The 1st Lieutenant Derek Hines Soldiers Assistance fund provides financial assistance for Massachusetts’s soldiers and their families, who have incurred serious, career ending, and life altering injuries while on active duty. Derek’s family set up the 1st LT Derek Hines Soldiers Assistance Fund in 2007 to give back to those putting their lives in danger for the United States. Derek Hines was born on July 9, 1980 and died on September 1, 2005 in Baylough, Afghanistan. His unit was conducting security operations and came under attack by enemy forces using small arms fire. Even after he had been fatally shot, 1LT Hines continued to fire at the insurgents. Derek was a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point where he flourished both academically and as a hockey player. He was named captain his senior year and in 2007 he was awarded the NCAA Award of Valor. For more information please visit www.derekhinesfund.org
About Home Base: Home Base, a Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Program, is dedicated to healing the invisible wounds for post-9/11 veterans, service members and their families through world-class clinical care, wellness, education and research. As a National Center of Excellence, Home Base operates the first and largest private-sector clinic in the nation devoted to healing invisible wounds such as post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury, anxiety, depression, co-occurring substance use disorder, military sexual trauma, family relationship challenges and other issues. Since inception, Home Base has served more than 11,000 veterans and family members with care and support, trained more than 45,000 clinicians, educators and community members nationally and remains at the forefront of discovering new treatments– ensuring a brighter future for the 21st century warrior and military family. For more information please visit www.homebase.org.