The First Lady of The United Sates, Dr.Jill Biden, recently visited Home Base to observe a program dedicated to healing the invisible wounds of war. Funded by the Red Sox Foundation, the generosity of a grateful Nation, and others, Home Base is medically supported by scientists from Massachusetts General Hospital. At this National Center of Excellence, practitioners trained in military culture provide comprehensive care to Veterans and their families.  The state-of-the-art facility in Charlestown stands proudly beside the berth of the USS Constitution, a metaphorically fitting setting of a safe harbor after war.

USS Constitution 93 Chelsea Street Charlestown Ma

USS Constitution 93 Chelsea Street Charlestown, Ma

Regardless of era of service, discharge status, geographic location or ability to pay Home Base is open to all Veterans, Service Members, Military Families and Families of the Fallen. Since 2009, the facility has served more than 25,000 Veterans and their Family Members and trained 85,000 clinicians across our nation.  Working in cooperation with the US Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs Office this program sets the gold-standard for family-based care. There is a satellite location in Ft. Myers, Florida and plans are under-way to add another facility in Arizona.

Dr. Biden was welcomed to the Charlestown, Ma. Home Base by Program Directors and Linda Henry, wife of Red Sox owner John Henry. Her introductory overview of the facility included three stops. Each station visit exemplified how comprehensively Warriors are cared for in this multi-focal program.

Brigader General Jack Hammond, and Dr. Tenev explained how mask-painting is used as a gentle ice-breaker of sorts for program participants. The Vets and family members are encouraged to paint the front of their masks as they believe they are seen by others. The interior of the masks tell a more intimate story of how they perceive themselves. The silence of this art project speaks volumes about the emptiness and agony of complex wounds of war.

Brigader General Jack Hammond, U.S. Army (Ret.)  Executive Director Home Base, Senator Ed Markey, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden at Home Base 7/14/22

 

Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, Kalo Tanev, MD, Co-Director, Out Patient Clinical Program

The second stop on the tour of Home Base was to a gym. The brightly lit space included a wide range of equipment, weights, and electronics designed to help Vets restore areas of their brain disrupted by traumatic brain injury. (TBI)

Brigadier General Jack Hammond, Ryan Vanderweit, Director Warrior Health and Fitness, First Lady Dr.Jill Biden, Senator Ed Markey, Alexis Iaccarino, M.D. Director of Clinical Traumatic Brain Injury, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, Ron Hirschberg, MD. Senior Director Health and Wellness.

The final stop on the First Lady’s info-session was to a large family-stye kitchen. The open space is a casual place to hang-out, cook and break-bread with others who understand the process of recovery.  It was also where Dr. Biden met with three families who know from experience how this Center of Excellence has helped them personally.

Julian Kitching, SFC ( Ret.) and his wife Kalah’ meet First Lady Dr. Jill Biden in the Home Base kitchen.

 

Senator Ed Markey, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressly, Lt. Col. Amy Lynn Kalow, with her husband Lt.Col.Jasoon Kalow, and 2 year old daughter Alexandra. with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden

 

Lt. Col. Amy Lynn Kalow shares her story of PTSD with Dr. Biden at Home Base

 

Family of the Fallen, Katie Langer with her Mom Pat Langer, and 11 year old twins, Natalie and Noah Majors, share pictures of Sgt.Jeremy A. Mittlesteadt with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

Before Dr. Biden finished the day she gave each of the families a Challenge Coin, an award that signifies an act that went above and beyond the call of duty.

The token of appreciation was not only from the First Lady, but from a grateful nation.

To learn more about Home Base services reach out to:  homebaseprogram@partners.org or call 617-724- 5202

If you or a family member is in crisis or facing an emergency don’t wait. GO directly to the nearest Emergency Room or call the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-TALK ( 8255 )

 


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