From the Desk of Executive Director Brigadier General (Ret.) Jack Hammond: Independence Day 2022
Dear Home Base Nation,
The Fourth of July is a commemoration of our independence and a celebration of the birth of the United States of America. Each year, we reflect upon the sacrifices made by millions of Patriots to protect our unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. At Home Base, we remain committed to these aspirational values, realizing that we remain a work in progress. We are not perfect, but despite the significant political and social division we see today, our great Nation still represents what Abraham Lincoln described as the world’s “last best hope.”
Millions of young American men and women have given up their lives, bodies and futures to preserve these liberties. More than 100,000 U.S. troops stand watch today as freedom’s guardians to support our Ukrainian friends, and to prevent further incursions by Russia. Therefore, it is up to those of us who benefit from these selfless gifts to work together and find common ground to ensure that these unalienable rights remain intact, and their sacrifices are not made in vain.
These are difficult times and the many challenges we have faced over the past two years have caused millions of Americans to struggle with their mental health, and the Military community is no exception. In fact, Military suicides have increased 20% since the onset of the pandemic with nearly 20 Veterans continuing to die by suicide each day. Sadly, by the Department of Veteran Affairs’ own acknowledgement, more than 70% of these fallen Veterans were not connected to the VA, preferring to seek care elsewhere or not all.
No one organization can win this battle alone. The VA must look beyond its own solutions to invest and partner with expertise in the private sector. However, since our inception, no direct funds associated with their $300 billion annual budget has gone towards covering the cost of the lifesaving care and support we have delivered to more than 30,000 Veterans and their Families. This experience is replicated across the country, leaving programs like Home Base with a significant funding challenge to honor this Nation’s commitment to these Warriors and their Families.
As members of our grateful Nation of supporters, you have assured that where there are gaps in support, the American people will continue to honor their sacrifice and bring new resources to bear for the millions of Warriors in need. I want to thank you for the support you have provided and ask for your continued commitment to our brave men and women. Home Base remains dedicated to healing the invisible wounds of war for Veterans of all eras, Service Members, Military Families and Families of the Fallen. Our team stands ready to provide the compassionate care we have delivered to both our Warriors and their Families for the past 13 years.
Later this month at Fenway Park we will hold our most vital annual fundraiser, the Run to Home Base presented by Raytheon Technologies. The Run, which will take place on Saturday, July 30, is a unique 9K run and 5K run/walk through Boston, ending with each participant crossing home plate of one of the most iconic American sports cathedrals. Later that afternoon, we will honor the service and sacrifice of our Black Veterans and Service Members during the pregame ceremony prior to the Boston Red Sox vs. Milwaukee Brewers game, as we have previously done for our Vietnam Veterans and Families of the Fallen. We will honor the selfless and heroic service of Sergeant First Class Alwyn C. Cashe, who courageously rescued seven U.S. Soldiers from his burning Bradly Fighting Vehicle loaded with high explosives. SFC Cashe ultimately died from the burns he sustained saving others and was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.
You can register for the Run – or support us virtually, if you are unable to attend – at runtohomebase.org.
As we enjoy our Independence Day weekend this year, I ask that you please take a moment to remember those who are actively defending this Nation and are prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice if necessary. With the deepest respect and gratitude for your prayers and support, I wish you a safe and healthy Independence Day. Let freedom ring!
THEIR MISSION IS COMPLETE. OURS HAS JUST BEGUN.
Brigadier General Retired, U.S. Army | Executive Director, Home Base
Home Base is dedicated to healing the invisible wounds of war for Veterans of all eras, Service Members, Military Families and Families of the Fallen through world-class clinical care, wellness, education and research.