The pain can seem endless when someone we know or love takes his or her own life. For those that serve in the military, this situation seems like a common occurrence. Statistics from the Department of Veterans Affairs indicate 20 Veterans die by suicide each day. It’s a national crisis.
For the past four years, U.S. Air Force Master Sergeant Kara Vautour, from Roslindale, Massachusetts has participated in the Run to Home Base presented by New Balance. The Run is the biggest fundraising event of the year for Home Base, a Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Program. Home Base heals the invisible wounds for Veterans, Service Members and their Families.
Vautour returns each year because of the impact the race has on her emotionally. She is moved by the runners and supporters, their presence is a visual reminder of all those who support the military. This year, the July 28th race will honor families and loved ones of those who have fallen. It hold’s special significance for Vautour.
“I run for U.S. Army Master Sergeant Neil Morrison. He is my best friend’s brother who took his life after fighting his demons for many years. I will have his picture in my hand the entire race, because running with his picture gives me an opportunity to celebrate his life rather than focus on his death.”
The Run to Home Base begins and ends inside Fenway Park. Funds raised helps enable Home Base to provide clinical care and support service at no cost to patients in the program. Veterans from across the country can come to Home Base for care through their two-week Intensive Clinical Program (ICP). The ICP provides close to a years worth of treatment in two weeks time. Veterans are put on a path to life-long healing and then connected to care back in their home communities. All treatment, lodging, transportation and meals are fully covered. The program is possible through a grant from the Wounded Warrior Project as part of the Warrior Care Network, a groundbreaking collaboration between Home Base, Wounded Warrior Project and three other academic medical centers aimed at healing the invisible wounds.
Vautour is running as a member of “Team 439USAF”. The team consists of men and women, runners and walkers, and veterans and civilians from the United States Air Force, Navy, Army, and Marines. The team members have experienced the tragedies, sadness and heartbreaks associated with post-traumatic stress, depression and suicide. They are running this year unified and honoring their friends and all veterans and families of the fallen.
“It is our job to make sure they are never forgotten,” says Vautour. “My goal for the Run to Home Base is to be part of a visual reminder for people to know that they aren’t alone with what they are going through. In fact, there is a stadium full of people that want to create a path towards getting them the support they need.”
Vautour has raised nearly $240.00, of her $2000.00 goal. To donate to fundraising efforts in support of Home Base, visit homebase.org/vautour.