Home Base SWFL Receives Schoen Charitable Foundation Grant to Improve Veteran Health and Wellness

Home Base SWFL, a local non-profit founded by the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital dedicated to supporting veterans, service members and military families impacted by the invisible wounds, is pleased to announce the Schoen Family Foundation has provided a $50,000 grant to expand Home Base SWFL’s education, wellness and clinical care services in the region.

Naples-based William Schoen, founder of the Schoen Charitable Foundation, is a United States Marine Corp veteran and the successful entrepreneur who founded Health Management Associates. During his 28-year tenure as chairman of the board and CEO of the Florida-based corporation, which owned, leased and managed a network of 73 acute care and psychiatric hospitals, Health Management Associates became a Fortune 500 company. Through their Foundation, Schoen and his wife, Sharon, have taken a special interest in supporting veterans and their families.

William Schoen said, “The Marine Corp opened my eyes to the endless possibilities available to me through hard work, dedication, sacrifice and honor – it literally redirected the course of my life. This is one of the many reasons supporting other veterans is an integral part of my life today. I believe no veteran should ever stand alone.”

Schoen’s healthcare background and philanthropic interest in veteran health and education, made his Foundation a perfect fit for Home Base SWFL’s services designed to empower veterans to take control of their physical and mental health, provide tools to assist in managing stress and identify the triggers that would necessitate more intensive and complex treatment. The grant will specifically improve access to the supervised exercise, nutrition education, and stress and sleep management skills provided through Home Base SWFL’s Warrior Health & Fitness program. Through philanthropic support and collaborations with Florida Gulf Coast University, Lee Health and the YMCA, these services are available at no cost.

Home Base SWFL Program Manager and United States Marine Corp veteran Armando Hernandez, said, “Many returning veterans find solace in avoiding traumatic memories they experience on the battlefield which only exacerbates the intensity, frequency and symptoms of those memories over time. The Schoen Charitable Foundation grant will combat this symptom of war by expanding our evidence-based cognitive and behavioral therapies, complementary alternative medicine and peer to peer outreach and support.”

Retired senior listed officer, Master Sergeant Fernando Moreau, struggled with his transition to civilian life after serving more than 25 years with the United States Army. He suffered from PTSD, depression and anxiety and turned to alcohol to cope. When he was referred to Home Base, he was suicidal and homicidal and his wife and children lived in fear.

Moreau said, “I had no self-esteem. I was a former shadow of myself.”

Moreau credits the holistic combination of traditional psychiatric and outpatient therapy, his service dog and the alternative services he received through Home Base in helping him turn his life around.

Through the Warrior Health and Fitness program, he worked with his trainer and nutritionist to set health and fitness goals and establish healthy habits and they held him accountable for his results. He enjoyed the camaraderie of working out with like-minded people who had shared similar experiences. As he achieved milestones and built friendships with fellow veterans, he realized how much better he felt and noticed positive changes in his mood.

Moreau adds, “I am light years away from where I was. I no longer have defeating attitudes. I learned to love myself. I don’t know where I would be without Home Base. It changed my outlook on life.”

Home Base, a Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Program, is dedicated to healing the invisible wounds for Veterans, Service Members and their Families through world-class clinical care, wellness, education and research. As a National Center of Excellence headquartered in Boston’s Charlestown Navy Yard, Home Base operates the largest private-sector clinic in the nation devoted to healing invisible wounds such as post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, anxiety, depression, co-occurring substance use disorder, military sexual trauma and family relationship challenges.

Since its inception in 2014, Home Base Southwest Florida has leveraged the vast cutting-edge research and expertise in sports medicine and clinical care of the parent program in Boston.  To date, Home Base and Home Base Southwest Florida has served more than 21,000 Veterans and Family members with care and support, provided over 74,000 on-line and in-person training sessions to clinicians, educators, first responders and community members nationally, and remains at the forefront of discovering new treatments — ensuring a brighter future for the 21st century warrior and military family. For more information about Home Base Southwest Florida, please visit www.homebase.org/florida.