From the desk of Executive Director Brigadier General (Ret.) Jack Hammond: A Veterans Day Message
Dear Home Base Nation,
Each Veterans Day, we take time to thank the brave men and women who have selflessly served in the U.S. Armed Forces since the birth of our Nation as well as the Family Members who sacrificed greatly and cared for these Veterans when they returned home wounded or injured. All too often, the safety and freedoms we enjoy as Americans are taken for granted, but the cost for this security and freedom is high. The Russian invasion of Ukraine serves as a stark reminder of the fragility of peace; the growing threats that continue to be addressed by our Military; and the price paid when freedom is taken for granted. On behalf of all my Home Base teammates, I want to extend our thanks and deepest appreciation to the men and women, both past and present, who have stepped forward and stood watch over this Nation and the Families who continue to sacrifice and support our Warriors.
I would also like to express my gratitude to the loyal supporters of Home Base for their ongoing commitment to our mission — to heal the invisible wounds of war for Veterans and Military Families of all eras. Your support fuels our ability to deliver the best possible care for these extraordinary people who selflessly serve, place themselves at risk and too often require our assistance when they return home.
More than 20 years of combat have taken their toll on the 3 million Veterans who served in Iraq, Afghanistan and other “hot spots” around the world. More than 1.8 million of these Warriors have sustained some type of permanent disability, 7,070 were killed in action and over 30,000 post-9/11 Veterans have died by suicide. According to the 2022 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), more than 125,000 Veterans from all combat eras have died by suicide in the U.S. since 2001.
As terrible as these numbers appear, there is reason to believe the situation is even more dire. A suicide and self-injury prevention study published by America’s Warrior Partnership (AWP) challenged the VA’s accounting and suggested a significant number of self-inflicted deaths went unaccounted. According to the data collected by AWP in Operation Deep Dive, the suicide rate reported by the VA between 2014-18 could be 37% higher. Furthermore, Wounded Warrior Project’s 2021 Annual Warrior Survey found that nearly 1 in 4 Warriors had suicidal thoughts in the past 12 months and mental health continues to be a critical concern for post-9/11 wounded Warriors.
Since our inception 13 years ago, we continue to see the lifesaving results of our programs. Home Base’s national programs include the Intensive Clinical Program (ICP), which provides up to two years of treatment in just two weeks, and Comprehensive Brain Health and Trauma Program (ComBHaT), which is designed specifically for Special Operators. Those, as well as our unique ICP for Families of the Fallen and Resiliency Programs have reimagined what is possible in mental health and brain injury care. Through the efforts of our team and your support, Home Base is now recognized as one of the premiere clinical programs in the Nation and has cared for Veterans from all 50 states and 13 countries.
Veterans like Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Brian Kitching, a Silver Star Medal recipient and former patient of Home Base, credit Home Base for turning their lives around. “I want you to know that Home Base can change your life,” said LTC Kitching in our latest Home Base Stories of Hope. “Put aside these notions, put aside the stigma and take care of yourself. There is so much work to be done here and so many people, so many Operators, so many Active Duty Veterans can benefit from this. And I just encourage folks to do so.”
We are incredibly proud to work with each of our patients. Hearing their personal stories not only validates the incredible work being done at the Home Base National Center of Excellence, but also encourages those who may feel stigmatized for receiving treatment to not be ashamed for getting the help they need.
On behalf of Home Base, I once again thank Veterans of all eras for their service and sacrifice for our Nation. Please know, we stand with you and are here to help our Veteran community. If you or a loved one needs support, connect with us at homebase.org/GetCare.
I am extremely grateful for all the support we have received to date, but we have a unique opportunity for a significant investment that will support the care we currently provide. Through December, all donations will be matched up to $500,000 thanks to a generous gift from Karen and Rob Hale that will be used to create long-term sustainability for the lifesaving programs we offer. You can support Veterans, Service Members and their Families during this season of giving at homebase.org/Donate.
THEIR MISSION IS COMPLETE. OURS HAS JUST BEGUN.
Brigadier General Retired, U.S. Army | Executive Director, Home Base
Home Base is a national nonprofit 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, direct clinical care, wellness, education and research – all at no cost to them – regardless of era of service, discharge status or geographical location. The program was founded by Massachusetts General Hospital and the Boston Red Sox. Learn more at www.homebase.org