Tyngsboro resident and mental health clinician Kerry Gagniere has spent enough time serving the military Veteran population to understand the trauma that serving on the frontlines can cause. But in many cases, the mental scars left by war become worse once soldiers return home and begin to transition back into civilian life. “As a clinician, I meet with Veterans and get to know their daily struggles. I help them find housing, education, clinical care, group services and help give them a hope for a better tomorrow,” Gagniere says she recognizes her resources are limited; however, she keeps on pushing forward to make a difference wherever she can with the resources she has available.
On Saturday, July 28th, Gagniere will step up to the plate to ensure resources are available to all those impacted by participating in the 9th annual Run to Home Base presented by New Balance at Fenway. 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 and its mission to heal the invisible wounds 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 service they provide at no cost to their patients.
This year’s event will pay a special tribute to Families of the Fallen and recognize those who have given their life in service to country. Gagniere knows firsthand the impact of this loss and says that she feels a personal connection to the run as her close friend, Staff Sergeant Alex Dalida was killed in a tragic training accident during a Special Forces Qualification Course at Fort Bragg, North Carolina on September 14, 2017.
“Staff Sergeant Dalida displayed what duty, honor and country meant as he lived it in every aspect of his life,” Gagniere said. “There are many veterans in the Boston area who are sleeping outside with severe medical conditions and very scarce access to food and housing. If Dalida were still alive, I know he would be making a difference with our Veterans who are at a disadvantage, so in his honor, I and a few of my friends are going to run this race to raise money for Home Base and Veterans seeking medical services offered by Home Base.”
But the selfless notion of honoring her fallen friend runs deeper than the miles she will run on July 28th. Through her run and fundraising efforts, Gagniere hopes she can encourage others to not only thank our Service Members for their service, but to make sure they have the resources they need when they come home. “These are amazing people who do amazing jobs for all of us. It’s important that we support them in every way that we can,” Gagniere added. “One of the ways for me to move forward and to heal was try and make a difference in Dalida’s honor. Not only to remember him, but also to raise awareness of the mental health stressors our military community face on a day-to-day basis.”
To donate to Kerry Gagniere’s fundraising efforts, visit www.homebase.org/Gagniere.