On October 5, Home Base’s annual Mission: Gratitude benefit concert provided a beacon of hope for Veterans and their families, raising a record-breaking $1.7 million for the program and its mission to heal the invisible wounds. As Boston’s Zakim Bridge illuminated in red, white and blue to commemorate the event, guests enjoyed a red-carpet cocktail reception aboard the USS Constitution, dinner under the stars and live performances by Iraq veteran Sal Gonzalez and Emmy and Tony award-winning actress and singer Kristin Chenoweth.
The gala was emcee’ed by WCVB-TV NewsCenter 5 News Anchor and U.S. Air Force Veteran Randy Price and attracted nearly 600 guests in support of Home Base. Notable speakers included Home Base Overseer Jack Connors, Jr., President, Connors Family Office; and MGH President Peter L. Slavin, MD; who spoke to guests about the impact of the annual gala.
Home Base Executive Brigadier General (ret.) Jack Hammond unveiled plans for Home Base’s future home base in Charlestown Navy Yard – just yards away from the venue. “Over the past eight years, Home Base has provided hope to the hopeless, and served as a bridge from the darkness of despair into the light of a bright future,” Hammond said. “With your support, Home Base will build a state of the art facility that will provide us with space and resources we need to double the size of our existing programs and significantly expand the care we provide for mental health, brain injuries, and wellness.”
Home Base’s impact on the Veteran community was personified through a powerful testimonial by U.S Army Veteran and former Home Base patient Greg Vaillancourt, who shared the struggles he faced transitioning back into civilian life and how Home Base gave him hope – and helped him get his life back on track.
The formal program concluded with the presentation of the inaugural Major General Joseph Warren, MD Award to Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) for their contributions in Veteran mental health care. “Under the leadership of Lt. Gen. Michael Linnington, WWP brought together four Academic Medical centers, MGH, Emory University, Rush Medical Center, and UCLA to develop the first of its kind Warrior Care Network,” Hammond said. “This has allowed Home Base to transition from a regional beacon of hope to a National program, serving Veterans from across the country.”
The message of hope was carried throughout the evening as guests kicked off an energetic live appeal, raising record-breaking funds for Home Base. Hammond concluded, “It takes a Nation to build an Army, but it also takes that same nation to welcome that Army home. Thank you for actively supporting this effort and serving as a welcoming community here in Boston.”
Relive the memories of the 2017 Mission: Gratitude benefit concert featuring Sal Gonzalez and Emmy and Tony Award-winning actress and singer Kristin Chenoweth through our Flickr slideshow, below.