On November 22, 2017, Lauren Horth of Bolton, Connecticut, received the news no one wants to hear: her friend and United States Navy Lieutenant Steven “Deet” Combs Jr. lost his life in service to his country. The plane he was piloting made a forced emergency crash water landing in the Philippine Sea. Through Combs’ efforts, eight of the 11 passengers onboard survived the crash, however Combs and two other passengers did not make it.
“Combs was a man who lived a life that mattered, and he was full of love and laughter. He touched people’s lives, and demonstrated to everyone to live well, work hard and make a difference,” said Horth. To honor his memory and service, Horth decided to sign up for the 9th annual Run to Home Base Presented by New Balance at Fenway on Saturday, July 28th. While memory is the first measure of gratitude, its fullest and most meaningful expression is found in word and deed. Horth knows she can never fully repay her friend’s bravery, courage and ultimate sacrifice, but she can show others that his sacrifice is indeed remembered and he will never be forgotten.
The charity race—a 9K run/5K walk that begins and ends inside Boston’s Fenway —benefits Home Base, a Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Program. Home Base works to heal the invisible wounds for Veterans, Service Members and their Families from across America. The Run is their biggest charity event, raising funds for the clinical care and support services they provide at no cost to their patients. This year, the event is dedicated to the families and loved ones of those who have fallen.
“This year’s Run to Home Base is a chance for the public to stand both with these families and for these families. “By signing up and participating in this year’s Run, you are honoring their sacrifice- as well as honoring the Veterans, who paid the ultimate price in defense of our country and freedom throughout the world.” says Michael Allard, Chief Operating Officer, Home Base.
This Run is a physical challenge for Horth; but one she is committed to complete for the cause is so worthy. “I had a few bad accidents riding my horses and was told my likelihood of being any sort of distance runner was slim,” she said. “I started slowly and worked my way up to half marathons. It was hard, but I did not give up and I accomplished what others thought was impossible—that was a remarkable achievement for me!”
So far, Horth has raised nearly $575.00 and is inspired to exceed her fundraising goals. “I believe all of our military is the reason we are able to sleep soundly at night. This Run is not about fitness levels. It is bigger than that. It is bigger than all of us. It is about showing support and helping those who keep us safe.”
To donate to Horth’s fundraising efforts, visit www.homebase.org/Horth.
Registration and event information for the 2018 Run to Home Base Presented by New Balance is available at www.runtohomebase.org. Pre-registration and minimum fundraising commitment is required.
If you are a family member of a Service Member or Veteran who has made the ultimate sacrifice either in service or as a result of their service, we invite you to join us for a special tribute at the 9th annual Run to Home Base charity race and during the on-field pre-game ceremony of the Boston Red Sox game that evening. Please visit www.homebase.org/familiesofthefallen to learn more.