The Southwest Florida arm of Home Base was initially created to empower local Veterans and Warriors to take control of their physical well-being, provide tools to help manage stress and provide a portal for more complex care for those in need of treatment for the Invisible Wounds. What began as a health and fitness program for Veterans has transformed into something with even more impact: a community. Although the resilience of this community was tested in the wake of Hurricane Irma this fall, the last several months have ultimately proven to be successful for the Home Base Southwest Florida (SW FL) team and the Veterans and Families they support. The fundraising events and efforts surrounding Veterans Day were particularly noteworthy; here is a look back at how the Home Base SW FL community came together to support Veterans – and one another.
Communication was sporadic in the days following Hurricane Irma, but the Home Base SW FL team lost no time rallying together to support their local community. As soon as the storm passed, the Home Base SW FL team met up with several of the Veteran participants in the SW FL Warrior Health & Fitness Program to help clear debris from the homes of fellow participants in the program. In addition to looking after their own, they worked together to help clear the homes of family members and friends of program participants. The team effort was a true testament to the strength of the supportive community that Home Base’s Veterans programs have fostered in Southwest Florida, proving that strength and conditioning programs are only the tip of the iceberg of good that the program has brought to the region.
Thanks to an ongoing collaboration between Home Base and Pelicans Nest Golf Club, Veterans Day was recognized over the course of several days in Southwest Florida this November. The weekend kicked off with a “Concert Under the Stars” at Pelicans Nest on Thursday, November 9th, and culminated with the second annual Pelicans Nest Golf Tournament on Monday, November 13th.
The “Concert Under the Stars” included a speech from retired U.S. Army Brigadier General Ed Dyer, who spoke about the work Home Base is doing for local Veterans, followed by a performance by the band The Night Train.
The Second Annual Pelicans Nest Golf Tournament began with a barbecue for participating golfers. Following the barbecue, Home Base supporter and committee member, Pat Phelan, led the Pledge of Allegiance. Retired 4-Star U.S. Army General Fred Franks, honorary director of Home Base Southwest Florida, gave a speech during the opening ceremony, and Armando Hernandez, CSCS, Home Base Southwest Florida Program Manager, spoke before the start of the tournament and thanked everyone in attendance. After the golfers finished, they were greeted by a reception dinner in the Pelican’s Nest Clubhouse during which U.S. Army Captain Michael Swift shared a moving testimonial highlighting the importance of Home Base and the resources it provides for local Veterans.
In total, the two Pelicans Nest Golf Club events raised more than $72,000 to support Home Base’s work to heal the invisible wounds for local Veterans and their Families.
Home Base was proud to attend the November 11th premiere of Enlisted, a new documentary from Producer Keith Famie, at the Center of Performing Arts in Bonita Springs. The documentary offers a glimpse into the lives of current active duty personnel and Veterans from World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. Mayor Peter Simmons of Bonita Springs was also in attendance. Major Ivan Castro, who recently ran both the Boston and London Marathons in support of Home Base and The Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry’s Heads Together Campaign, was the keynote speaker at the event. The film was a moving tribute to our nation’s Veterans, and shed a light on the programs offered at Home Base for Southwest Florida Veterans. Watch trailer.