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Mission Gratitude, Featuring Harry Connick Jr., November 10th

Mission Gratitude,

New England’s Largest Benefit Concert to Support Wounded Warriors,

Features Harry Connick, Jr.

Concert Benefit Tickets Now on Sale at


 Boston (October 6, 2014) – The Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program today announced Mission Gratitude, a benefit concert to raise funds to help Post 9/11 veterans and their families heal from the “invisible wounds” of war – post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury. The concert is set for Monday, November 10th.  Mission Gratitude is the largest benefit concert in New England supporting our wounded warriors.

Mission Gratitude will be held Veteran’s Day eve at Boston’s Symphony Hall and will feature legendary performing artist Harry Connick, Jr. Connick is known for his roles on the screen both big and small, on Broadway, and for his multiplatinum success as a singer. Connick has released 29 albums, won three Grammy Awards and two Emmy Awards and sold more than 28 million albums worldwide. A long time supporter of veterans, Connick has used his influence as an entertainer to further his charitable work. Following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, he created, along with fellow musician and New Orleanian Branford Marsalis, a Musicians' Village in the Upper Ninth Ward. 

2014 Medal of Honor recipient Staff Sergeant Ryan M. Pitts will be a special guest speaker at Mission Gratitude.  Sergeant Pitts received the nation’s highest military honor for his role in the Battle of Wanat in Afghanistan. Sergeant Pitts is a Lowell, Massachusetts native who now resides in Nashua, New Hampshire.

Mission Gratitude raises funds for the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program.  Home Base helps Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their families recover from post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury through clinical care, education and research.  Home Base serves active duty, Guard, Reserve and out-of-uniform veterans throughout New England regardless of their discharge status, insurance or ability to pay. Home Base defines family broadly and offers counseling for spouses, children, parents, siblings and girlfriends/boyfriends.

Mission Gratitude is chaired by Jack Connors, Jr. (Chairman Emeritus of Hill Holliday and Partners HealthCare; David Ginsberg (Vice Chairman, Fenway Sports Group); Peter Slavin, MD (President Mass General Hospital); and Tom Werner (Chairman, Boston Red Sox and Red Sox Foundation).

Corporate sponsors are Covidien, Fidelity, Hanscom Federal Credit Union, John Hancock, MetLife Foundation, Southern New Hampshire University, Wal-Mart, and 1st Lt Derek Hines Soldier Assistance Fund.

“We are extremely grateful to all the sponsors and donors to Mission Gratitude for their commitment in helping us heal the invisible wounds of war for post 9/11 veterans and their families,” said Brigadier General (Ret.) Jack Hammond, Executive Director of the Home Base Program. “One in three returning veterans suffers from post traumatic stress or a traumatic brain injury. By working together, we can give them the healthy future they deserve.”  

Visit for more information about sponsorship and tickets. To sponsor veterans or a military family to attend, email Donations are tax deductible and benefit the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program. Donations via check can be sent to the Home Base Program, 165 Cambridge Street, Suite 600, Boston MA 02114.

About the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program

The Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program serves Post 9/11 veterans and military families affected by the “invisible wounds of war” – post traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury – through clinical care, community education and research. For more information please visit


Kristen Chadwick, Home Base Program, 617-643-3830

Naples Daily News Profiles Warrior Health And Fitness Challenge

Naples Daily News: Program offers post-9/11 veterans fitness, nutrition and counseling

By Kelly Farrell

Sep 30, 2014 

NAPLES, Fla. - The Red Sox Foundation and their collaborators hit a home run with a free Warrior Health and Fitness Challenge program for post-9/11 veterans. The program, devised for veterans by veterans, is an eight-month program launched in June with its first group of 16 Southwest Florida veterans. The next group, which will also continue for eight months, begins the weekend after 9/11. Held at Florida Gulf Coast University, the program provides fitness, nutritional coaching, stress management and, if necessary, referrals to post-traumatic stress services, for post-9/11 veterans living in Southwest Florida.

This program hits home for me," said Warrior Health and Fitness Challenge Program Coordinator Armando Hernandez.

Hernandez, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, began studying accounting at FGCU when he noticed his new sedentary, civilian lifestyle had him gaining weight and feeling terrible.

"I was just sitting down one day and I gained about 45 pounds. Of course, it didn't happen in a day, but I noticed it all at one time," Hernandez said.

He began exercising and reading about how to efficiently lose the weight.

"During this transition, I began feeling so much better, looking better, eating better, having more confidence. It started this domino effect. I wondered ‘What is it about exercise that has this effect?' " he said.

That's when he changed his major, became a certified strength and conditioning specialist and got an internship with the Boston Red Sox during spring training at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers. He's now giving back to other veterans with the Warrior Health and Fitness Challenge.

The idea for the program came up in a discussion among veterans during spring training and was quickly spearheaded by a longtime Naples resident, Army Four-Star General (Ret.) Frederick M. Franks Jr. Franks is an honorary board member of the Home Base Program, which provides services to Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their families. The program is a collaboration of FGCU, Naples Vet Center, Fort Myers Vet Center, the Red Sox Foundation and The Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program. Franks hosted fundraisers in March; Southwest Florida donors participated in a golf benefit at Kensington Golf and Country Club in Naples and a benefit dinner at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers.

The Warrior Health and Fitness Challenge provides supervised exercise, mandatory check-ins, nutrition counseling and wellness education that includes stress management, proper sleep requirements, breathing techniques and resources to post-traumatic stress disorder support if necessary.

"This is Southwest Florida teamwork in action for our veterans, who earned this by their selfless service for us all," Franks said.

Participants come from all over Southwest Florida, with most coming from Collier or Lee counties, including Naples, Cape Coral, Fort Myers and Lehigh Acres, but also some driving from as far away as Alva in Lee County or Port Charlotte in Charlotte County, Hernandez said.

Theodora "Thea" Ashton, 29, of Cape Coral, a former military police officer, is in the first round of veterans meeting the Warrior Health and Fitness Challenge, and said she is seeing great results just two months into the program. Weight gain for Ashton isn't really a concern. However, having a healthy mind and body were what drove her to join the program.

"Exercise and eating right are not talked about. It's not pushed. Just, ‘Here are all of your medications.'

"I love the program. I love the idea of the program, getting into the depths of the way exercise and eating right helps with coping mechanisms for PTSD, and bringing us together," said Ashton, a psychology major specializing in PTSD at FGCU.

Old injuries in her feet had Ashton, a single working mom, months away from graduating, feeling sluggish and a bit unmotivated before joining the program.

"I was losing focus and getting back into dark places," Ashton said.

The Warrior Health and Fitness Program helped turn that around, not just in terms of her athleticism, but also with the camaraderie, she said.

"This is giving us the support that maybe we didn't notice before. Veterans — when we come back, we kind of introvert ourselves, and this has helped us to get out. Sometimes we can miss being around veterans. This gets that family back that you miss," Ashton said.

"All of us have been to boot camp, and most of us have deployed. That may be the only thing we have in common, but it's a strong bond because of the significance in our lives. It's cool to be in an atmosphere that everyone can relate (to)," Hernandez said.

Although the next session has not yet been scheduled, Hernandez hopes the program will last.

Interested veterans can contact Hernandez at More information is available at

Warrior Health and Fitness Challenge

Helping Post 9/11 Veterans in Southwest Florida heal from the “invisible wounds” of war.

Warrior Health and Fitness Challenge is a FREE, eight month program for up to 30 Southwest Florida Veterans. Warrior Health and Fitness Challenge is designed to help Post 9/11 Veterans – men and women – improve their physical health and well being through supervised physical exercise, education about healthy eating, living, sleep hygiene and the health benefits of physical activity. The program also includes stress management tips to overcome anxiety.

Participants in Warrior Health and Fitness Challenge will have mandatory check-ins beginning September 13th at Florida Gulf Coast University and JetBlue Park.

Warrior Health and Fitness Challenge is a collaboration of the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program and Florida Gulf Coast University.

Interested Veterans should contact Armando Hernandez, CSCS, Program Coordinator and Health Trainer. Email or call (239) 770-2414.

Resilient Warrior Course Begins Oct. 7th

 Home Base offers FREE stress management courses for service members and Post 9/11 veterans. Resilient Warrior is a four session education course in collaboration with the Benson Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine. The course teaches stress management skills, relaxation techniques, and communication skills to help build personal resilience.

The goal of Resilient Warrior is to reduce stress and improve physical and emotional health. Participants will learn stress management techniques that have proven particularly effective in promoting health and building resiliency among service members, veterans and military connected family members throughout the country. 

To register and learn more contact Emma Morrison at