Marc Jackson is heading nearly 2,000 miles east from Houston, Texas to Boston’s Fenway Park to participate at the 9th annual Run to Home Base presented by New Balance to benefit Home Base, a Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Program and their mission to heal the invisible wounds of war for Veterans, Service Members and their Families.
Currently serving in the Texas Army National Guard, Jackson is making the trip to Boston because he says the invisible wounds—post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury, and others— have affected his life greatly. One of his soldiers, Sargent Amon Gift, became one of the 20 Veterans who die by suicide every day upon his return to the U.S. post-deployment.
In 2015 and 2016, Jackson and Gift served together in Afghanistan, performing route clearance. The missions were intense: uncertain, and at times, explosive. One evening, one of the vehicles driven by Gift was hit by an improvised explosive device. Gift was not physically injured, but some of his buddies were not as fortunate. The guilt from that night had a severe impact.
“Amon was a good-natured soldier, loyal; he was known for his great sense of humor and was beloved by his teammates,” explains Jackson. “When he got home, though, he struggled with what happened in Afghanistan and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.”
In January 2017, the body of Sgt. Amon Gift was found in Lake Sam Rayburn, Texas. Jackson is participating in the Run to Home Base in his honor, and to bring awareness to the invisible wounds of war. “Though many of us still grieve his passing, we remember him as the gift to us all that he truly was. We continue to honor his memory and his service to our country through this selfless initiative,” Jackson adds. “The war does not necessarily end when a service member returns home and the greatest gift they can receive is to know that they – and their families – are not left behind.”
The Run to Home Base presented by New Balance is a 9K / 5K charity run that finishes with participants crossing home plate inside Fenway. It’s the largest annual fundraiser for Home Base, a program based out of Boston that treats Veterans and their Families across America. To date, Home Base has served 74 Veterans with care and support from the state of Texas.
Through Home Base’s Intensive Clinical Program, Veterans receive close to a years’ worth of therapy in two-weeks’ time. Treatment, meals, accommodations and transportation to and from Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital are fully paid for. Veterans can come and receive comprehensive, wrap-around care in this out-patient program and then go back to their home communities, put on the path of lifelong healing. The Run to Home Base on July 28, 2018 raises funds to support the overall program so Veterans, Service Members and Military Families can receive the care they need.
“One in three returning Veterans struggles with an invisible wound of war. Home Base can help, regardless of ability to pay, regardless of where you live, regardless of discharge status. If you are a Veteran and you are struggling—please, reach out to Home Base. We can help,” says retired Brigadier General Jack Hammond, Executive Director, Home Base.
So far, Jackson has raised nearly $335.00; his goal is to raise $550. To donate to his fundraising efforts, visit www.homebase.org/Jackson.
“Post-traumatic stress is an enemy that is unlike any other. It is silent and invisible and hides long after the battle is over,” says Jackson. “Our Nation’s Veterans deserve the best quality of care available to help heal the damage combat creates.”