Southwest Florida man treats Veterans to wakeboarding in sunshine state

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SunTrust Private Wealth Vice President Walter Schacht hosted the event for local Southwest Florida Veterans.

Nearly 30 Veterans and their families invaded Revolution Cable Park in North Fort Myers, Florida last month for a free morning of wakeboarding courtesy Walter Schacht, Vice President of SunTrust Private Wealth. An avid wakeboarder himself, Schacht created the event as a way to show appreciation to Veterans in the sunshine state.

“We need to provide any support we can to Veterans, whether emotional, financial or social. They have enabled our freedom for generations and deserve our respect and appreciation. My primary goal is to give the Veterans a great time with their families, but the event is also a springboard to create awareness to for Home Base– because most people down here don’t know what they do,” Schacht said.

Home Base is a Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Program, dedicated to healing the invisible wounds of war for Post-9/11 Veterans, Service Members and their Families through world-class clinical care, wellness, education and research. Invisible wounds include post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury, co-occurring substance use disorder, depression and anxiety. Home Base is headquartered in Boston, but has a concentrated effort on the ground in Southwest Florida.

Veterans enjoyed the day at Revolution Cable Park in North Fort Myers, Florida.

Home Base enthusiastically assisted Schacht with the organization of the wakeboarding event, seeing a natural outing for folks enrolled Home Base’s Southwest Florida Warrior Health and Fitness Program. The program runs for six months in both Southwest Florida and New England and is held for and fully-managed by Veterans. The program is designed to improve participants’ health and well-being through supervised physical exercise and education about healthy living.

There are roughly 5,000 Post-9/11 Veterans living in Southwest Florida, and Home Base recognizes the urgent need for additional programs to assist past and present Service Members struggling with invisible wounds. As such, Home Base launched their Intensive Clinical Program (ICP) earlier this year: a two-week, concentrated outpatient program open to Post-9/11 Veterans anywhere in the nation, including Florida. In the ICP, Veterans are provided both evidenced-based therapy and complimentary alternative medicine, receiving what would be about a year of traditional outpatient treatment in two weeks. Care, treatment, lodging, transportation and meals are provided at no cost to the patient. Several patients from Southwest Florida have already attended Home Base’s ICP since the winter 2016 launch.

“At Home Base, we recognize the need for Veterans to assimilate back into civilian life after deployment. The event was a great way to get the local Veteran community in Southwest Florida to bond with other Veterans as well as their families. Everyone had a great time and we’re hopeful to do more events like this in the future,” said Armando Hernandez, Southwest Florida Program Manager, Home Base.

Group Photo
The Veteran and family event was a success.

Back at Revolution Cable Park, those in attendance at the wakeboarding event were treated to a small feast after working up an appetite on the water. Food was generously provided by Austin Price and instruction and coaching by Chad Forrest, both of whom are close friends of Schacht.

If you are interested in learning more about hosting an event for or to benefit Veterans, contact Kelsie Dodier at kdodier@partners.org. If you are interested in the Southwest Florida Warrior Health and Fitness program, click here. If you are interested in learning more about Home Base’s Intensive Clinical Program, click here.