The Run to Home Base Experience was Epic, informative, inspiring and downright fun! Almost everyone running this program is a veteran. As a veteran, I found that to be outstanding. They understand firsthand the frustrations a veteran goes through and are dedicated to the mental health and physical well being of veterans in SWFL.
On Race Day the passion and dedication to the cause was heartwarming, from the runners that participated to the people who coordinated it, I felt the love! Even the sponsors, like Mike from Headpinz was there doing the race as the Headpinz Mascot, a big bowling pin who also had all the kids busy, was rooting him on.
General Fred Franks, an amputee veteran and the Honorary Director of Home Base Florida, was so inspiring with his words when he walked up to the stage to speak on why he started these amazing programs in Florida. He said he started it “to fulfill a trust, when men and women serve in the armed forces, there’s an implied trust that we will be there for them when they come back home and Home Base is here for them in SWFL.” I was able to speak to him and tell him about my story and how passionate I am to bring awareness of programs like these to people who don’t have any idea these resources exist.
According to HomeBase.org,
The Southwest Florida arm of Home Base was created to empower 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.
What began as a health and fitness program for Veterans has transformed into something with even more impact: a community.
At Jet Blue Park Race day you could feel the love and support for Veterans. I posted some pictures and a quick recap video of the event. Congratulations to the Race winner, 31-year-old Hailon Wong, who came in at 17:42.75 for the 5k run at 5:34 minute miles. Congratulations to the runner up 55-year-old Glen Button clocking in at 18:39.73.
Thank you to all who attended and please share the Home Base Program information with any veteran you may know. The link is below.