News: Walk/Run to Home Base held at Fenway Park
By Capt. Adam Davies
Boston Medical Recruiting Company
BOSTON - Members of the Medical Recruiting Brigade took part in a fund raiser for veterans at Fenway Park in Boston, Mass.
“It was fitting that on May 4, 2013, – just three weeks after the bombings and in a display of strength and resiliency – Soldiers from the Medical Recruiting Brigade and 804th Medical Brigade came together again to support our veterans and their family members,” according to Capt. David Villarroel, recruiter, Boston Medical Recruiting Company and a former member of the 804th Medical Brigade.
Villarroel was referring to the Run-Walk to Home Base, presented by New Balance. The program raises funds for the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program. The Run-Walk, held at Fenway Park, drew over 2,000 participants in a program that supports clinical care, education, and research to help Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and families heal from the "invisible wounds" of war -- post traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury.
Physicians and nurses from the 804th Medical Brigade – an expeditionary reserve unit headquartered in Devens, Mass. that is comprised of combat support hospitals, forward surgical teams, and combat stress control elements – responded to help save dozens of lives in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings. This time the partnership with MRB was while participating in the annual "Run-Walk to Home Base.
"This year's run was even more meaningful in the wake of last month's Boston Marathon and the senseless violence that followed," said Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner. "Our service men and women sacrifice so much so we can be safe at home. Sadly, the traumas they experience are now the same ones affecting many of those who were injured during the marathon bombings. It only heightens the urgency for the ground-breaking research that brilliant physicians and researchers are working on right now at Massachusetts General."
It was the first major run conducted in Boston since the marathon, and the Boston Medical Recruiting Company used it to highlight Army medicine in a variety of ways.
The Mission Support Battalion, U.S. Army Recruiting Command, established a mobile Forward Surgical Team DRASH (Deployable Rapid Assembly Shelter) inside Fenway Park’s concourses, with 804th Medical Brigade surgeons and nurses on hand to demonstrate its use and discuss their Army experiences. Second Lt. Sarah Johnson, a first year Medical Corps Health Professions Scholarship Program student at the University of Vermont, sang a rendition of the National Anthem.
The MRB fielded a team called "Army Medicine! Boston Strong!" to run the 9K race. Members from both the MRB and 804th Medical Brigade lined the final stretch of the race along the third base line. Col. Karrie Fristoe, commander of the Medical Recruiting Brigade, was there to congratulate military heroes as they crossed the same home plate made famous by so many legendary baseball players. Additionally, as an exhibiting sponsor, the label “U.S. Army Healthcare” was placed alongside the names of the other sponsors in the official program guide, on the official t-shirts, and on other banners located throughout Fenway Park.
“The event continued to shape the medical recruiting environment in New England,” Villarroel said. “And nested in perfectly with the host of activities currently underway between the Boston Medical Recruiting Company, the 804th Medical Brigade, and the many civilian medical partners in the greater Boston area.”l
The “Run-Walk to Home Base” – now in its 4th year – is an annual fundraiser, and has raised more than $9 million.
“The support that the city of Boston has provided to the military is phenomenal,” said Col. Karrie A. Fristoe, commander, Medical Recruiting Brigade. “The Home Base program and Massachusetts General have reached out to the needs of service members, veterans, and families. Boston has recently seen some horrific things but they have shown their resiliency and how a community can come together very similar to what we see in the military. They even adopted a modification of our Army logo ... they are Boston Strong!”
On the morning of this year’s Boston Marathon, soldiers from the U.S. Army Medical Recruiting Brigade greeted runners and spectators while out promoting Army medicine at the starting line in Hopkinton, Mass. When the bombings occurred 26.2 miles away at the finish line near Copley Square in Boston, many of the first responders included Soldiers from other organizations within Army Medicine.
Col. Joseph Blansfield, an emergency room nurse, was on scene and took care of patients at the Boston Medical Center, where he works full-time. Lt. Col. David King, a general surgeon, finished the marathon just minutes before the blasts and immediately went to the operating room at Massachusetts General Hospital. According to both officers they relied extensively on their military medical background and experiences in emergency and operating rooms in Iraq and Afghanistan
Blansfield and King, like many other members of the 804th Medical Brigade, are part of the Boston medical recruiting family. They routinely take time to meet with Army medical recruiters, make introductions to key figures within the community, and tell their Army stories at hospitals and schools in the greater Boston area.
"Fewer than one percent of Americans serve in the military, but in the wake of the terrible Patriots Day bombing, all Bostonians have a better understanding of the dangers and challenges our soldiers face every day on the battlefield as well as the anxiety our military families feel when a loved one is in harm's way. The need to heal these invisible wounds of war, which affect one-in-three veterans, is more urgent than ever," said Peter L. Slavin, Md., president of Massachusetts General Hospital.
Army Medicine has a very proud tradition in Boston. It’s official origin can actually be traced to the Revolutionary War when the Continental Congress designated a home just outside Harvard Square as the first Army Medical Headquarters.
It could be argued that nowhere else in the Army Medical Department can the refrain “The Strength to Heal” be more true than in Boston. Regardless – while the rest of the Army knows Army Medicine as Army Strong, at least in New England, Army Medicine is Boston Strong, Villarroel said.
For more info about the 2013 Run-Walk to Home Base and the Home Base program, please visit 2013 Run-Walk to Home Base.
For more about the Home Base Program, please visit Home Base Program.
For more about Army Medicine, please visit Army Medicine.
For more about careers in Army Medicine, please visit Careers in Army Medicine.