Home Base Florida brings community together
Healing invisible wounds of veterans & military families
Matt Loeb Family
Veterans Day honors those who chose to defend and protect our great nation. For most military servicemen and women, feelings of pride and accomplishment are as clear, strong, and tangible as the fabric of their uniforms and the values they represent. For many, however, recurrent memories of the trauma of war negatively impact the daily lives of veterans and their families.
“Our military servicemen and women defend our country to give all of us the ability to live in a nation that honors our individual and group rights at all costs,” states Marine Corps Veteran and Home Base Florida Senior Director Armando R. Hernandez. “While we celebrate Veteran’s Day, we should remember that there is a price for that freedom."
Thanking our veterans for their service on Veterans Day has become a civilian’s opportunity to offer respect and appreciation for our military—but more needs to be done beyond this special day to help them heal.
Florida has the third largest veteran population in the US with more than 1.5 million veterans. Life-changing stress from events on the battlefield can leave lasting personal changes necessitating cutting-edge therapies. Over 108,000 veterans reside in SWFL and many lack access to the specialized care needed to recover.
Home Base Florida Behavioral Health and Wellness Care
The call for help was answered by Home Base, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing comprehensive care and support to veterans and their families. It was co-founded in Boston in 2009 by the Boston Red Sox and Massachusetts General Hospital. In 2014, Home Base expanded in Florida to offer SWFL military families the tools needed to take control of their physical health, and to rebuild the camaraderie lost in the transition to civilian life, while providing a portal to the clinical care available in Boston.
Through their flagship Warrior Health and Fitness program, military families were able to receive a free, 90-day program focused on fostering physical fitness, improving overall well-being, and establishing healthy lifestyle habits.
Despite its program success, veterans are taking their own lives at a troubling rate. Suicides among post-9/11 veterans are four times as high as combat deaths. Each year, more than 6,000 US veterans take their own lives, including over 500 in Florida. With suicide rates climbing, Home Base leadership knew more needed to be done to expand care to Florida.
Retired USA Army General Fred Franks and Home Base Florida Honorary Director said, “As Home Base Florida grew our fundraising capabilities, we launched outpatient clinical care in SWFL fulfilling the trust that we will be there for veterans when they return home.”
State Funding Expands Care and Launches Traumatic Brain Injury Services
Now through a $1.5 million investment by the Florida legislature awarded in 2023, Home Base will continue to expand its programs locally and serve more veterans in the state. The additional funding will help launch traumatic brain injury services at no cost. This inclusive approach ensures military families will have equal opportunity to receive the care they deserve.
Home Base remains committed to its mission to support military families throughout their recovery journey. Today and into the future, Home Base remains at the forefront of discovering new treatments to ensure a brighter future for 21st-century warriors. With ongoing community support, Home Base Florida will continue to make a lasting difference in the lives of those who have served. For more information, visit HomeBase.org/Florida.