Life is hard. Add in combat and it becomes unspeakably harder. For the military caretakers back home supporting their loved ones while in combat can be a burden shared. For Shelly Messenger from North Haverhill, New Hampshire, it’s a life she knows all too well.
Messenger comes from a long line of Patriots who have served this country in time of need. As a loving spouse, of a U.S. Army Veteran, she has seen firsthand the effects deployments and military life can have on a family. “Not many people understand just how hard it is to be a supportive spouse of a person in the military. You are the banker, the teacher, the babysitter, the maintenance person, the plumber, then suddenly they are back and you have to figure out how to live as a couple with joint responsibilities – just for them gone again,” Messenger recalls.
In addition to being married to a U.S. Army Veteran, Messenger has seen the effects of military life as a loving aunt to three U.S. Army Veterans, two of whom have also deployed to Afghanistan.
“I have so many stories of the sacrifices my family has made over several generations,” Messenger said. “But I have also seen firsthand the effects this life can have on the family members.” Her nephew came home with a Purple Heart from an injury sustained in an IED explosion.
It is for them and in their honor, Messenger says she has signed up for the Run to Home Base presented by New Balance on July 28th. “The military and our Veterans are a way of life in my home. In fact, my daughter recently signed up for the National Guard. Although it’s scary with everything our family has already gone through – I couldn’t be more proud.”
The charity race—a 9K run/5K walk that begins and ends inside Boston’s Fenway Park—benefits Home Base, Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Program. Home Base works to heal the invisible wounds, such as post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury, 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.
Although based in Boston, MA, Veterans from New Hampshire and across the country can receive care and support through Home Base’s two-week Intensive Clinical Program (ICP), which provides 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.
“This is my first time running this race,” Messenger said. “Although I am running it alone, in spirit I will be running with those who have passed before me and continue to fight for our country. I have the utmost respect for all who serve their country and the sacrifices they make to protect our freedoms. I am a proud American, I am proud of the American Flag, Old Glory, Red, White and Blue long may she wave.”
So far, Messenger has raised $215.00 of her $550 goal for Home Base. To donate to her fundraising efforts, visit www.homebase.org/messenger.