A Special Independence Day Message from General Hammond

Dear Friends of Home Base,

Each year on the 4th of July we celebrate Independence Day with family and friends, getting together for parades, fireworks, and barbecues. This year our social gatherings will be different and more limited as our nation is facing the foreboding specter of a COVID-19 return, the challenges of systemic racism, and a national economy that has adversely affected many of our citizens. Our celebrations this year will be a bit quieter for sure. But this will provide us an opportunity to reflect upon the sacrifices of patriots who have safeguarded our liberties and freedom for 245 years. For many, this will include your parents, grandparents, siblings, or children. We will also remember their loved ones who’ve sacrificed greatly by the absence, loss, or injury of their Veterans.

Brigadier General (Ret) Jack Hammond Executive Director, Home Base

Home Base remains committed to the principles reflected in the Declaration of Independence, and our teams work tirelessly to ensure that ALL Veterans and Families receive the same level of care regardless of race, gender, discharge status, or ability to pay. Your support for Home Base and this noble mission demonstrates your commitment to make good on our collective promise to care for the men and women who continue to stand as freedoms guardians. Eighteen million strong Veterans represent a unique and diverse element of our country and society, and roughly one-third of these great Americans have been affected by the invisible wounds of war.  This year we have seen an overall spike in Veteran suicide, and several recent NY Times articles highlighted the 300% increase in suicides and growing concern for traumatic brain injury amongst our special operations forces.  Our good friends in the Bob Woodruff Foundation’s recently published a paper, Veterans and COVID-19: Projecting the Economic, Social, and Mental Health Needs of America’s Veterans, that shows that emergent trauma, loneliness due to social isolation, and unplanned wage loss or job termination are creating the “perfect storm” that could exacerbate mental health challenges for many Veterans and Military Families. Our clinical programs have never been needed more.

Last March, our Home Base Team made a rapid transition and pivoted from delivering in-person to virtual care. They quickly learned how to effectively deliver individual and group therapy using video and telehealth appointments. I am happy to report that we have declared our independence, and will formally restart our 2-week intensive clinical program for Post Traumatic Stress on July 6th, following all of the best practices and safety measures outlined by MGH. We will then reestablish our compressed traumatic brain injury program for special operations forces, and continue to develop and improve our virtual care programs to ensure our Veterans and their families receive the high-quality care they have earned through their service.

Like many organizations, Home Base was significantly impacted by these current events and we now face our first budget deficit, suspension of clinical programs, and the elimination of key staff positions. The Home Base leadership has engaged this challenge and will work tirelessly to close these funding gaps to ensure the impact on our veterans and their families in minimized. With your continued support, we can and will come through this stronger than ever. Difficult times present both challenges and opportunities. For more than a decade, our team has taken on what appeared to others as insurmountable challenges to Veteran & Family Care, and each time we have responded with new, innovative, and cost-effective treatments and programs. We will respond to this new normal in kind, and are hard at work developing plans for Home Base 3.0 – so stand by for more details as we develop this situation.

I want to extend my deepest thanks and appreciation to all of our supporters.  May God bless each of you and this wonderful nation of ours as we embrace these difficult challenges, and reclaim the spirit and principles that have made this nation great. Happy Independence Day!

Sincerely,

Brigadier General (Ret) Jack Hammond
Executive Director, Home Base, a Red Sox Foundation and
Massachusetts General Hospital Program