Boston resident Elizabeth Desmond is determined to continue her father’s legacy of giving back. On Saturday, August 26, Elizabeth will partner with Turnstyle Cycle in Boston’s South End to charity spin ride in support of two organizations with a shared mission of serving those who have served: Home Base, a Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Program, and Operation: Heal Our Heroes.
When asked about her motivation to support Home Base and Operation: Heal Our Heroes, Desmond doesn’t hesitate to credit her father, Paul Leo Desmond, as her inspiration for organizing her upcoming fundraising event, “Blood, Sweat, and Beers.” “He is the greatest I know, such a philanthropist,” she says of the three-time Purple Heart recipient, and Vietnam Veteran.
“Service was part of my father’s lifelong after he left the military,” Desmond continues, explaining how her father took a job managing operations at the Boston office of the Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH), a VA Accredited Veterans Service chartered by Congress. For over a decade, Desmond’s father handled hundreds of disability claims in the VA system, countless appeals, and engaged a host of legislative employment and public relations efforts on behalf of the military community. His outreach spanned the public, private, corporate and non-profit sectors.
“So many people view war as a video game, and do not see how difficult it is to transition into a day-to-day at a 9-5 [job],” Desmond recalls first learning of prevalence of suicide amongst Veterans – and being particularly struck by the staggering ‘20 suicides per day’ statistic. “This stuck with me big time,” she says, alluding to the challenges many Veterans face when they return from multiple deployments overseas and assimilate back into civilian life.
Desmond decided it was ‘her turn to serve,’ and began volunteering at the New England Center for Homeless Veterans in downtown Boston. It was there that she first learned about Home Base and Operation: Heal Our Heroes. After meeting with representatives from both organizations, she began organizing her own fundraising event. She hopes to raise awareness of the important work these two programs are doing and encourage millennials to get involved. The “Blood, Sweat, and Beers” event will consist of a spin class at Turnstyle in Boston’s South End, followed by an after-party on the roof-deck of Market.
Based out of Massachusetts General Hospital, Home Base is dedicated to healing the Invisible Wounds for Veterans, Service Members and their Families, providing care and support to those struggling from the impact of war and service.
Operation: Heal Our Heroes was founded by Everett Weston, an U.S. Army Veteran, after he lost one of his dear friends – and fellow Veterans – to suicide. The foundation raises critical funds to provide Veterans with the resources and private support services necessary to facilitate their transition ‘all the way home,’ including those at Home Base.
The synergies between the two programs are numerous, and the event is a testament to the good that can be done when people rally together with a shared goal of supporting their Military community. In fact, Desmond reports that she has already had one individual purchase ten tickets, which he expressed should be donated to Veterans who otherwise might not be able to partake.
Staff members from Home Base and Operation: Heal Our Heroes will come out to support Desmond on August 26th. The event is sure to put a fresh “spin” on fundraising for our Veterans and Service Members.
For more information or to register for the “Blood, Sweat, and Beers” fundraiser, click here.