This release from the Red Sox:
More than 2,000 runners, including hundreds of active duty military service members, crossed home plate at Fenway Park this morning as part of the 9K Run to Home Base. The event, now in its second year, raised over an estimated $2.6 million to fund the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program, which provides clinical care and support services to veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan who are affected by combat stress or traumatic brain injury. The program also provides counseling to their families.
First Lady Michelle Obama, honorary director of the Home Base Program, sent a videotaped greeting that was played during the opening ceremonies. “The Home Base Program is helping our veterans and their families get the clinical and family support services they need and that they earned. Events like this one are a perfect example of what Dr. Jill Biden and I are trying to accomplish with our new Joining Forces Campaign,” said the First Lady. “Thanks again to Red Sox Nation for stepping up to the plate when it counts. And to all vets and military families at Fenway Park today, all of us hope we can serve you as well as you serve us.”
Thousands of supporters filled the ballpark early Sunday morning to cheer on the runners, including US Senator Scott Brown, and enjoyed a Military Appreciation Area where they assembled 1,000 care packages for troops currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“The brave men and women who serve our nation have earned not only our respect, but have also earned our support when they return home,” said Red Sox and Red Sox Foundation Chairman Tom Werner. “The Red Sox and Red Sox Foundation are honored to host this second Run to Home Base here at Fenway Park, and to help raise the funds and awareness needed to ensure our service members and their families get the care they need and deserve.”
Runners were greeted at the finish line by General Peter W. Chiarelli, Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army; Lt Gen John Kelly, Senior Military Assistant to the Secretary of Defense; Red Sox Principal Owner John Henry and his wife, Linda Pizzuti Henry; Werner; Red Sox President/CEO Larry Lucchino; Massachusetts General Hospital President Peter Slavin, MD; and New Balance President and CEO Rob DeMartini.
New England soldiers and marines currently serving in several military units in Iraq and Afghanistan also held “Run to Home Base” events on Sunday in solidarity with their fellow military who are running stateside. The runs had real home plates from Fenway Park to serve as finish lines, courtesy of the Red Sox and sponsor "Our Families for Family First." The runs in Iraq and Afghanistan took place earlier Sunday, and photos from those events were shown on Fenway Park video screens as runners entered the ballpark.
“Our veterans represent the finest that our nation has to offer. They chose the path of service and willingly put themselves in harm’s way in order to protect our freedoms and way of life. It is my honor and privilege to take part in this year’s Run to Home Base, and I commend the Red Sox Foundation and MGH for all they do to care for our wounded warriors and raise awareness of the challenges they face,” said Brown.
The Red Sox, the Red Sox Foundation, Massachusetts General Hospital and everyone involved in the Run to Home Base are grateful to Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino and the City of Boston; the Boston Police, EMS and Transportation departments; Massachusetts State Police; the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation; and the City of Cambridge for their teamwork.