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Boston Red Sox and New Balance Team Up to Honor America's Veterans at Fenway Park

June 23rd 2012

Boston, MA -

At Fenway Park tonight, the Red Sox Foundation will underscore their commitment to wounded veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and their families by highlighting the team's newest charitable initiative throughout the game – the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program.

In 2009, at the suggestion of Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner, the Red Sox official team charity and one of the leading academic medical centers in the nation created the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program. The mission was to serve Iraq and Afghanistan veterans returning with Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Traumatic Stress, two of the most common, though often less visible, injuries inflicted by this war. The Home Base Program provides clinical care and support for those veterans and their families; community education about these so-called "invisible wounds;" and conducts research to improve the treatment of PTSD and TBI.

"The brave men and women who serve our nation – and their families who have sacrificed so much for our country – deserve not only our respect, but also our support when they return home," said Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner. "As we seek to serve more veterans and families through the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program, we are honored to work with New Balance to raise both the funds and awareness needed to ensure the mental health needs and brain injuries of our veterans are adequately addressed."

The pregame ceremony at Fenway Park will highlight the Home Base Program's chief annual fundraising event – The Run-Walk to Home Base Presented by New Balance. The global footwear and apparel giant has been the lead sponsor of the Run since the unique fundraiser began three years ago. The event starts and ends at Fenway Park, and this year included both a 9K run and a 3 mile walk option. Adult participants raised $1,000 each to enter the event, which ended with a timed finish in front of the Green Monster and a Photo Finish crossing home plate. Active duty members participate in the race alongside the fundraisers for $50 and no fundraising requirement.

Over the past 3 years, the event has raised nearly $7.3 million for the Red Sox Foundation and Mass General Hospital Home Base Program. Officials from New Balance, the Red Sox, Red Sox Foundation, and Massachusetts General Hospital will join veterans and military in an on-field check presentation before tonight's game.

"As a Boston-based company and official military apparel and footwear provider, we are proud to continue to support this unique athletic event at iconic Fenway Park that enables New England servicemen and women returning from Iraq and Afghanistan to get the services they need and have earned," says Rob DeMartini, President & CEO for New Balance, who has participated in the Run since its inaugural year. "We know the need is even greater, and we look forward to growing this event each year. As the motto of the Run says: They served us. Now it's our turn to serve them."

Tonight's Ceremonial First Pitch will be thrown by New Balance President and CEO Rob DeMartini and former US Army Sgt. First Class Robert Doyle – a 14-year veteran and Bronze Star Medal recipient who served for 15 months in Iraq between 2006 and 2007. Doyle credits the Home Base Program, as well as the support of family and friends, with helping him overcome his Post Traumatic Stress.

"As our veterans transition home from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is more important than ever that our community remember their service and the sacrifice their families have made for our nation. Massachusetts General Hospital remains committed – and honored – to serve the mental health and medical needs of our military veterans and families well into the future," said Peter L. Slavin, MD, president of Massachusetts General Hospital.

Additional military members will take part in tonight's pregame ceremony, including a US Marine Color Guard, US Army members singing the National Anthem, US Air Force members participating in the Green Monster Flag drop and a 7th inning salute to an active duty US Army member. Children of veterans will also be featured in the game tribute. Six military-connected children will begin the game with the tradition cheer "Play Ball." Four other children, who were top fund raisers as part of this year's Run-Walk to Home Base Presented by New Balance, will be honored as the game's Child-Hood Heroes during the 4th inning.

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

The Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program is a philanthropic partnership supported by donations. It is also generously supported in part by Welcome Back Veterans, an initiative of the McCormick Foundation and Major League Baseball. The program also won a major grant from BAE Systems, Electronic Systems Division and other individual and corporate donors. For more information about the clinical and support services provided by Mass General clinicians through Home Base, which are available to veterans and family members affected by PTSD or TBI regardless of ability to pay, please visit www.homebaseprogram.org.

For more information about the Red Sox Foundation, named "Best Team Charity in Sports" by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Sports Philanthropy Project and winner of the first-ever MLB Commissioner's Philanthropic Excellence Award, please visit www.redsoxfoundation.org.

About New Balance

New Balance made its first pair of running shoes in 1938, and today holds the distinction as the only company that still manufactures athletic shoes in the U.S. New Balance employs 1,300 associates across five New England facilities to produce a quarter of the brand's U.S. footwear shipments each year.

New Balance has proudly maintained the same principles it was founded upon: superior customer service, a strong commitment to American workers and domestic manufacturing, and leadership in product fit and technological innovation. New Balance is the Official Footwear and Apparel Sponsor of the Boston Red Sox and proudly supports team players Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, Bobby Valentine and Darnell McDonald among others. For more information please visit www.newbalance.com.

Contacts:

Meg Vaillancourt,
Red Sox Foundation,
mvaillancourt@redsox.com,
617-645-4520

Lee Chelminiak,
RSF and MGH Home Base Program,
mvaillancourt@redsox.com,
617-643-9231