Home Base SWFL, a local non-profit founded by the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital dedicated to supporting veterans, service members and military families impacted by the invisible wounds of war, received a $7,500 grant from the Community Foundation of Collier County’s Veterans Support Fund to expand Home Base SWFL’s education, wellness and clinical care services in the five-county region.
The Veterans Support Fund, established in 2018 by the Celebrity Martini Glass Auction (CMGA) in partnership with the Community Foundation of Collier County, assesses and distributes funds to Collier County charities creatively meeting the physical, emotional, psychological and social needs of veterans.
“Investing in the health and well-being of our veterans who have given so much is a priority for us,” said Eileen Connolly-Keesler, Community Foundation of Collier County president and CEO. “We are proud to provide support for this invaluable program, in partnership with the Celebrity Martini Glass Auction, which will provide numerous health benefits—both physical and mental. It’s our turn to give back to our veterans.”
The grant funding will support veterans and military families enrolled in the Home Base SWFL Warrior Health and Fitness program, which is offered at no cost. Since its founding in 2014, Home Base SWFL has helped hundreds of veterans regain their mental and physical health through personalized fitness and nutrition programs, and a peer support network. The education, wellness and support services provided by Home Base SWFL have empowered veterans to take control of their physical and mental health, providing them tools to assist in managing stress and identifying the triggers that would necessitate more intensive and complex treatment.
“Many returning veterans find solace in avoiding traumatic memories they experience on the battlefield which only exacerbates the intensity, frequency and symptoms of those memories over time,” said Home Base SWFL Program Director and United States Marine Corps veteran Armando Hernandez. “The Veteran Support Fund grant will combat this symptom of war by expanding our evidence-based cognitive and behavioral therapies, complementary alternative medicine and peer to peer outreach and support.”
The grant will improve access to the supervised exercise, nutrition education, and stress and sleep management skills provided through the Warrior Health & Fitness program, provided at no cost through philanthropic support and collaborations with Florida Gulf Coast University, Lee Health and the YMCA.
Deborah Todd, a medic in the U.S. Air Force who struggled mentally and physically from prolonged exposure to the traumatic injuries and critical care patients she treated, participated in Home Base SWFL’s Warrior Health and Fitness Program. She credits the program for giving her tools to help with her sleep issues, anxiety and depression, “The way I solved problems, interacted with others and cared for myself – all became easier to manage with the support from Home Base.”
Todd specifically credits the yoga, mindfulness and focus on spirituality for helping with her anxiety and participating in the experiences Home Base provides for helping with depression and isolation. “I can handle life’s challenges easier than I ever could before. Now I feel hopeful about my goals and can better care for myself and my family,” Deborah said.
For more information about Home Base Southwest Florida, please visit www.homebase.org/florida.