PORTLAND, Maine – The Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority has announced that the Amtrak Downeaster has partnered with the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program and Wounded Heroes Program of Maine to provide discounted fares to Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and families traveling to Boston for medical treatment at Home Base.
In the fall of 2009, Massachusetts General Hospital and the Red Sox charitable foundation partnered to launch the Home Base Program, which provides clinical care for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and families experiencing post-traumatic stress, deployment stress, and traumatic brain injury. Home Base also provides clinical education and is engaged in research to improve treatment for these “invisible wounds of war” which affect one-in-three returning veterans.
The Downeaster Home Base Discount enables the Wounded Heroes Program of Maine to pay for one Veteran and one companion to travel between any two Downeaster stations for $10.00 one-way or $20.00 round-trip per person Monday-Friday. Reservations must be made three (3) days in advance of travel.
According to Pam Payeur, Executive Director of the Wounded Heroes Program of Maine, “We are proud to partner with the Home Base Program at Mass General Hospital and the Amtrak Downeaster to provide our wounded Maine veterans with the best care available for Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Taking the financial burden off our service members for traveling to Home Base makes it that much easier to plug them into quality care for brain injuries as well as psychological injures. Collaborating with the Home Base team allows us to bring our wounded consistent, comprehensive care. This makes it possible to help them get their lives on track and reduce the impact of these types of injuries. Thanks to Home Base and the Amtrak Downeaster for making this important partnership possible.”
“We are deeply grateful to NNEPRA and the residents of Maine for making such a generous commitment to help eliminate this transportation barrier and enable Maine veterans and families to recover from the invisible wounds of war,” said retired Brig. Gen. Jack Hammond, Executive Director of Home Base.
The Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority is a public transportation authority created in 1995 by the Maine State Legislature to develop and provide passenger rail service between Maine and Boston and points within Maine. NNEPRA’S mission is to develop and manage a quality passenger rail system that meets the transportation needs of our customers, delivers value, and enhances economic development within the region we serve.
The Home Base Program was created in 2009 to serve Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and families affected by Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) – the “invisible wounds of war.” Home Base provides clinical care and support services for service members, veterans and their families throughout New England; offers community and clinical education about the “invisible wounds of war” and the challenges facing military families; conducts research to improve the understanding and treatment of PTS and TBI. It is estimated that one in three Iraq and Afghanistan veterans experience one or both of these injuries. Visit www.homebaseprogram.org.