Home Base

Mission of Home Base Florida Celebrated At Spring Training Game Presented By Suffolk And Suffolk Cares

With rain in the forecast and winds on the horizon, nerves were high as we anticipated what this spring day in Florida would bring. Thankfully, the skies parted, the wind calmed, and we were able to enjoy another beautiful celebration of our Veterans and Their Families at JetBlue Park during the last Spring Training game for the Red Sox. The Red Sox took on the Minnesota Twins, and as Red Sox fans expected, they brought home the victory.

Beyond celebrating a Red Sox win, Home Base Florida honored over 170 Veterans and Their Families on the field during the opening ceremony, surpassing last year’s attendance. This event was generously sponsored by Suffolk and the Suffolk Cares, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the Red Sox Foundation, which donated all the tickets for our Veterans and Their Families, providing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to walk onto the field and be acknowledged for their selfless sacrifices.

The spouses of Veterans waved, their children eagerly stepped onto the field, and gratitude washed over the Veterans’ faces, bringing the stands to their feet in applause, honoring these participants as they deserved. As the participants lined the field, the announcer recognized Home Base and all those who served, including retired U.S. Air Force Veteran and father of an active-duty Airman, Alberto Padron, and his family. Padron, nervous but excited, approached the pitcher’s mound to throw out the first pitch while his family stood by, ready to announce the official “play ball.”

Immediately following the pre-game ceremony, Padron joined Home Base Florida and Suffolk senior leadership and over 90 community champions for a special reception where he shared his military experience, the challenges he faced transitioning to civilian life, and how Home Base Florida helped him reclaim his life.

Alberto Padron embarked on his journey with a singular purpose: to serve his nation, don the uniform with pride, and honor his immigrant parents. Little did he know that this commitment would lead him through a tumultuous yet inspiring path. After entering the Air Force, a medical diagnosis altered the course of his military aspirations. In a whirlwind of events, he found himself discharged, divorced, and disabled. Despite these adversities, he rebuilt his life, though he felt a void from the loss of the military community, which intensified during the isolating times of COVID-19, particularly after relocating his family to Southwest Florida. This void began to be filled when his son enlisted in the Air Force, and he learned about Home Base Florida.

Home Base Florida helped Alberto carry the weight of that void, offering a renewed sense of belonging and community through their Warrior Health and Fitness Program and Adventure Series. The impact of Home Base extended beyond Alberto, as his wife also joined the Warrior Health and Fitness Program, and his eldest son received crucial mental health support after serving in Afghanistan in 2021.

“Home Base is a haven for all Veterans in need of support, regardless of their individual journeys,” said Padron. “What I enjoy most about Home Base events is the sense of community. With Veterans, the connection is often instantaneous. Home Base creates these community-building opportunities, bringing with it a sense of belonging that we all need for our overall wellness. I’m better for it. I believe Southwest Florida is better for it too.”

This unforgettable event was made possible by the generous sponsorship of Suffolk and the Suffolk Cares, alongside the support of the Red Sox Foundation.