In 2004 and 2007, following their historic World Series wins, Red Sox owners, management, and players, along with Massachusetts General Hospital representatives, visited Walter Reed Medical Center and met hospitalized Veterans of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Deeply moved by the visit, the Red Sox organization sought to make a more profound, sustained commitment to serving our returning Veterans and their Families. With guidance from their colleagues at Massachusetts General Hospital, the Department of Defense, the US Department of Veterans Affairs, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, and others, the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program was created.
The Southwest Florida arm of Home Base empowers local Veterans and Warriors to take control of their physical well-being, provide tools to help manage stress and provide a portal for more complex care for those in need of treatment for the Invisible Wounds. Lee County has been the Boston Red Sox team’s Spring Training home since 1993. In 2012, the Red Sox celebrated the opening of JetBlue Park at Fenway South.
Given Home Base’s ties to the Red Sox and the fact that an estimated 8,000 Post-9/11 Veterans reside in the five-county area of Southwest Florida, the region is the perfect home for the program. Home Base is also generously supported in part by the Wounded Warrior Project and Welcome Back Veterans, an initiative of the McCormick Foundation and Major League Baseball.
Frederick M. Franks, Jr., is a US Army General (Ret.), and Honorary Director, Southwest Florida Warrior Health and Fitness Program, and Home Base. He expresses his feelings of deep gratitude for returning veterans and our obligation to be there for them when they come home. Read his Letter.