Friday night television typically features a marathon of sitcom re-runs, but on the evening of November 11, Massachusetts and New Hampshire ABC viewers were in for a treat.
Thousands bundled up at home that frigid fall night and tuned in to WCVB Channel 5 in Massachusetts and WMUR Channel 9 in New Hampshire to watch Home Base’s second annual Veterans Day Special. For the first time, the TV special aired in the two New England states and was hosted by Randy Price on WCVB and Josh McElveen on WMUR.
The telethon raised a record-breaking $160,000 for Home Base and its mission to heal the invisible and invisible wounds for Post-9/11 veterans, service members and their families, such as post-traumatic stress (PTS), traumatic brain injury (TBI), co-occurring substance use disorders, anxiety, depression and other issues related to service. As a philanthropically driven organization, Home Base is able to provide clinical care at no cost to military members or their loved ones through generous donations.
This year’s TV special was two hours and introduced viewers to additional Home Base programs, such as the Adventure Series Program and Home Base’s Education Program. Viewers heard from many Home Base staff, including the Veteran Outreach Team and clinicians, and were treated to an exclusive a behind the scenes peek into Home Base’s yearly fundraising events – The Run to Home Base and Mission: Gratitude.
Perhaps the most inspiring stories in the TV special were of Home Base patients, in particular Bill Geiger of Texas and Laura Hartman of Florida, who traveled to Boston to receive treatment at Home Base’s recently launched Intensive Clinical Program (ICP). The ICP is open to Veterans from across the country. In this concentrated outpatient treatment program, patients receive nearly a year’s worth of therapy in two weeks’ time; basic food, lodging and transportation expenses are provided to participating Veterans and one accompanying family member. In addition to Bill and Laura, Home Base’s Veterans Day TV Special featured inspiring stories of perseverance from The Sanger Family, Will Snow, Mike Brown, and Ryan Casavant.
More than 60 Home Base supporters volunteered their time to support the phone bank and receive phone donations from callers in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Among the many dedicated volunteers who dedicated their time to Home Base that evening was NESN’s own Boston Red Sox sideline reporter Guerin Austin, who says she wouldn’t have spent her Friday night anywhere else.
“I became aware of Home Base through NESN Connects, our network’s employee volunteer program, and Home Base immediately struck a chord with me,” said Austin. “Having grown up in a military family, I understand the challenges veterans and their families can face. Home Base is doing incredible work and all the callers I spoke with during the telethon felt the same way.”
As the evening came to a close, Home Base’s own Executive Director, Brig. Gen. (ret.) Jack Hammond took several calls and spoke to viewers, thanking them for their gifts and supporting the Home Base mission. “Home Base’s Veterans Day Special is an excellent way to spread awareness about Home Base initiatives throughout the New England community. To say we are appreciative of donations of all sizes is an understatement,” he said. “It was heartwarming to talk to callers at the phone bank, and despite some having financial struggles, they still want to give to our cause. To everyone who donated to Home Base’s mission, we thank you.”
As the year comes to a close, Home Base would like to extend a sincere ‘thank you’ to you – for your ongoing support in helping spread awareness of the invisible wounds affecting 1 in 3 Veterans and their families. A special ‘thank you’ to Boston’s WCVB-TV and New Hampshire’s WMUR-TV for broadcasting Home Base’s 2nd Annual Veterans Day TV Special, and to anchors Randy Price and Josh McElveen for lending your voice to share the Home Base story.
If you were not able to view Home Base’s Veterans Day TV Special, you can view it below.