On August 27, The SEAL Legacy Foundation hosted its second annual Patriot Dinner to recognize the courage, commitment, and sacrifice of the U.S. Navy SEAL community and families. The event shined a spotlight on military mental health as it was announced that Home Base was chosen as this year’s beneficiary – and new partner – to develop new mental health programs targeted to the SEAL community.
Over 500 guests and more than 50 active and former SEALs attended the benefit, which was emceed by media personality Steve Deossie. The room in which the benefit and gala was held was decorated along its walls by candles, narratives, and pictures for each and every SEAL who has fallen since 9/11. Additionally, commemorative helmets like those worn by students during BUD/S training were displayed on each table, with each helmet bearing the name of a fallen SEAL.
SEAL Legacy Foundation Managing Director CDR Mark McGinnis opened the evening by announcing the new partnership with Home Base to those in attendance. “Home Base’s research- and evidence-based program for veterans with traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder makes it an ideal partner for the SEAL Legacy Foundation,” said “Our board was impressed with its outstanding reputation and positive outcomes for patients. U.S. Navy SEALs are known for excellence and innovation, so it is only natural that The SEAL Legacy Foundation would seek the same qualities in a partner supporting our community.”
Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are widely considered the signature wound of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars and are frequently associated with post-traumatic stress (PTS). Special Operations Forces, including Navy SEALs, have been at the tip of the spear for America’s longest war, putting them at significant risk for these injuries. Since September 2001, the Naval Special Warfare community has lost many warriors during training and in combat, at home and on foreign shores. For the past six years, the SEAL Legacy Foundation has been at the forefront of supporting the SEAL community, helping current and former SEALs and their families in a variety of ways, including survivor support, college scholarships and now, mental health care services.
The SEAL Legacy Foundation’s efforts, as well as those of Home Base, were highlighted during the evening in a panel discussion, featuring Dr. Ross Zafonte, Medical Director for Home Base’s TBI Program. When asked about the prevalence of TBI in the SEAL community and how Home Base is different that other clinical programs, Zafonte reminded the audience that TBIs can cause a host of physical, cognitive, emotional, and behavioral effects, many of which can be difficult to detect, but “Home Base has developed a system of care that supports Veterans with an individualized rehabilitation plan of care delivered by an interdisciplinary team of professionals at Massachusetts General Hospital and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, in collaboration with the Veteran and their family.”
“We have seen an increase in the number of SEALs seeking support for the symptoms of TBI and PTS, including insomnia, anxiety and cognitive impairment, among others,” McGinnis added. “We have worked diligently to identify a world-class partner so we can broaden our Foundation’s offerings to include mental health programs.” This year, Home Base and the SEAL Legacy Foundation will work together to expand Home Base’s two-week Intensive Clinical Program (ICP) to serve Navy SEALs and their families. The ICP – a critical intervention for Veterans and Service Members struggling with the invisible wounds – was born out of recognition that many Veterans and Service Members who desperately need the services of Home Base live too far away to access them.
“The intensive, focused nature of the ICP is a natural fit for the SEAL community”, said Dr. Peg Harvey, Director of the ICP at Home Base. “The comprehensive format of the ICP, which includes gold standard treatment for PTS and TBI, will address the complex set of concerns SEALs often are looking for help with.” In Home Base’s concentrated intensive treatment program, which launched in February of 2016, 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. Critically, the services continue beyond the two-week ICP. Before they leave for home, the Navy SEALs will be connected to providers in their home communities, ensuring a continuity of care for the SEAL and family.
The evening also featured both a live and silent auction, speeches from former SEAls and concluded with a special presentation of the inaugural Patriot award to Stacey Lucchino in recognition of her outstanding leadership and commitment to the military community. Stacey, who is an active and passionate advocate for many social service organizations in New England has focused on mental health and education, most recently serving as member of Home Base’s Leadership Council.
“The invisible wounds of war are complex injuries that require innovative 21st century solutions, and that’s what we are trying to do at Home Base and Massachusetts General Hospital,” said Brigadier General (ret.) Jack Hammond, Executive Director of Home Base. “Strategic partnerships are the key to making a national impact and we are sincerely proud to partner with the SEAL Legacy Foundation, honor our good friend Stacy Lucchino, and work with them to provide life-saving care to the SEAL community and ensure our brave military families can heal from unseen injuries and lead the healthy and productive lives that they so richly deserve.”
About Home Base: Home Base, 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. Home Base operates the first and largest private-sector clinic in the nation devoted to healing Invisible Wounds such as post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, anxiety, depression, co-occurring substance use disorder, military sexual trauma, family relationship challenges and other issues associated with military service. Since its 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.
About the SEAL Legacy Foundation: The SEAL Legacy Foundation is a 501(C)(3), nonprofit organization dedicated to providing support to families of wounded and fallen United States Navy SEALs, educational assistance for SEALs and their families, and other charitable causes benefiting the SEAL community. The Foundation was established in 2011 by SEALs to preserve their legacy of no one left behind. For more information, please visit www.SEALLegacy.org. The SEAL Legacy Foundation can also be followed on Twitter at www.twitter.com/SEALLegacy and on Facebook via www.facebook.com/SEALLegacyFoundation.
The SEAL Legacy Foundation