Robert S. Graustein II never had the chance to meet his grandfather, Lieutenant Commander (LCDR) Robert S. Graustein, who was killed in Vietnam on December 21st, 1972. But on July 15th, he will have the opportunity to honor his grandfather’s memory by participating in the 8th annual Run to Home Base presented by New Balance at Fenway in support of Home Base, a Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Program.
The 9K run and 5K run/walk begins outside Fenway Park and ends with participants crossing home plate, raising necessary funds for the clinical care and support provided by Home Base and their mission to heal the invisible wounds for Post-9/11 Veterans, Service Members and their Families. Invisible wounds include post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury and other issues associated with the deployment cycle.
Graustein’s participation in the Run is timely; this year, the opening ceremonies for the Run will include a special recognition ceremony for Vietnam Veterans in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War. More than 1,000 Vietnam Veterans are traveling from around the country to join Home Base and the Boston Red Sox for a day of commemoration at Fenway Park that will begin at the July 15 Run to Home Base and culminate with a special pre-game on field ceremony at the Red Sox vs. Yankees game that same afternoon.
“I run for him because I was never given the chance to meet him,” says Graustein, when asked about his grandfather and why he chose to participate in the Run to Home Base. “I am named after him.” The late LCDR Graustein graduated from the Naval Academy in 1961 as an Operations officer of the VA-75. He was subsequently stationed at the naval air station Oceana on the USS Saratoga, at which point he deployed to Vietnam as part of the Sunday Punchers squadron. His A-6 plane was struck down while he was on a bomb strike on Kien Ann Airfield.
Graustein’s physical resemblance to his late grandfather is uncanny, but it is clear his dedication to the service to others runs in the family. Graustein quickly surpassed his fundraising goal of $750 and plans to raise at least $1,500 to support the Home Base mission to heal the Invisible Wounds of War. He believes the Run to Home Base is a way to give back to the men and women who answered the call to serve, just as his grandfather did so many years ago. The Vietnam Veterans recognition ceremony and the 9K race represent a way for Graustein to connect with a man he never had the privilege of meeting.
If you would like to support the Robert and help him reach his Run to Home Base fundraising finish line, please visit his 2017 Run to Home Base fundraising page below.
Bobby’s Run to Home Base Fundraising Page: http://www.runtohomebase.org/2017RuntoHomeBase/bobbygraustein