It's going to be a great night in Boston on Monday, September 23 when Symphony Hall will be transformed into a benefit concert hall featuring some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry. In attendance will be The Band Perry, Big & Rich, Sarah Silverman, SNL's Darrell Hammond, Cassadee Pope, The Henningsens, Angie Johnson and actress and singer (not to mention Tom Hanks' wife) Rita Wilson.
They'll all be coming together for Mission Gratitude to raise funds to heal Iraq and Afghanistan veterans as well as families from the "invisible wounds of war" (post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury). Also participating in the largest benefit concert in New England supporting wounded warriors, will be Pulitzer Prize winning author Doris Kearns Goodwin and Red Sox legends Pedro Martinez and Tim Wakefield.
We recently caught up with Tracy West, Director of Development and Signature Programs at The Home Base Program which provides clinical care and support services for service members, veterans and families. We wanted to find out more about the concert and how the Red Sox Foundation became involved supporting veterans.
JustLuxe: How did the idea of this concert come about?
Tracy West: Home Base did some brainstorming with the event co-chairs, looking to create a fundraising event that would be appealing to a wide audience of people and sponsors. The hope was to design an event that could be repeated annually, but with a different twist each year. The group settled on a concert that brings some top-notch talent to Boston, but also incorporates the Home Base mission of "healing the invisible wounds of war" for veterans and their families. Home Base wanted folks to leave at the end of the night having had a great time, an entertaining experience, and also having learned more about the program's mission and goals.
JL: How did the Red Sox Foundation become involved with a show to support veterans?
TW: The Red Sox Foundation is a founding partner of the Home Base Program, along with Massachusetts General Hospital. In 2004 and 2007, following their historic World Series wins, Red Sox owners, management and players, along with representatives of Massachusetts General Hospital visited Walter Reed Medical Center and met hospitalized veterans of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Red Sox leaders, especially chairman Tom Werner, were deeply moved by the visit and sought to make a deeper, sustained commitment to serving returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their families. They founded the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program in 2009 and have been involved ever since. The Red Sox vigorously promote Home Base during game broadcasts, and owners, team management, players and their spouses are active in promoting Home Base throughout Red Sox Nation. The Red Sox Foundation co-hosts the "Run to Home Base" event each spring at Fenway Park.
JL: This is the largest of its kind in New England. Are you hoping it will become an annual event?
TW: Yes, we hope that our message will resonate with those who wish to support our mission. It is also our hope that Mission Gratitude will become a must-attend event each year. It will be something that people look forward to on an annual basis, as a way to show their support of veterans and families.
JL: How did you get so many stars to participate?
TW: After explaining the mission of the evening and the good work that the Home Base Program is doing for veterans and families, the artists were very excited to participate in Mission Gratitude. They were honored to show their support and are looking forward to performing in Boston Symphony Hall.
The benefit concert starts at 6 p.m. and tickets range from $125 to $1,000.