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    Saturday, August 20, 2022

    Electric Boat fundraising 'team' running for veterans' causes

    Groton — Fresh out of Fitch High School in 1983, Jeff Carver joined the Army at the urging of classmate Pat Stoddard, who did the same.

    They completed tours, Carver in Asia and Stoddard in Central America, and returned to civilian life. Stoddard opened a business, Carver went to college and then to work for Electric Boat. They kept in touch, visiting each other once or twice a month, Carver said.

    But Carver had no clue his friend was struggling. In 2014, Stoddard took his own life.

    Ever since, Carver, a designer at EB and a Montville resident, has thrown himself into fundraising for veterans’ causes. His employer and co-workers have joined him.

    On July 30, he’ll lead a 30-member team of co-workers, family and friends in the annual Run to Home Base, the chief fundraiser of Home Base, a collaboration between the Boston Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital. Home Base operates the largest private-sector clinic in the nation devoted to healing veterans’ “invisible wounds,” including post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, and traumatic brain injuries.

    Since 2009, the Red Sox Foundation has provided more than $30 million in care and support for veterans and their families, most of it raised through the Run to Home Base events.

    Carver said Run to Home Base participants run or walk out of Boston’s Fenway Park and embark on 9- or 5-kilometer routes along the Charles River before returning to the ballpark, which they enter through the bullpen. They continue along the outfield warning track and down the baseball diamond’s third-base line, finishing at home plate.

    This will be Carver’s eighth straight Run to Home Base.

    As of Friday, his fundraising team, dubbed “Electric Boat Team Fast Attack,” had raised nearly $18,500, putting it well within reach of its fundraising goal of $25,000.

    In addition, Carver said, Electric Boat has pledged $5,000 and the Marine Draftsman’s Association at EB, Local 571 of the United Auto Workers, has pledged another $5,000, including covering the cost of a charter bus to transport team members to Boston for the event. Over the years, members of EB's upper management also have contributed as individuals, Carver said.

    "I’m doing this for a reason,” he said, recalling his fallen friend. “Whether you go into combat or not, military life is very extreme. When you come home, it takes some readjustment. ... PTSD and concussive trauma are so easily dismissed except by those who are suffering from it.”

    "Support from Electric Boat employees over these past eight years for me means so much," Carver said.

    According to Home Base, military suicides have increased by 20% since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, with nearly 20 veterans a day taking their own lives.

    To donate to Carver’s fundraising team, visit bit.ly/ebfastattack.

    b.hallenbeck@theday.com

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