Dennis Amblo, a Northeastern University student-veteran who served in Iraq, suffers from a traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. Exploding homemade bombs inflicted his so-called invisible wounds of war.
“I deal with it,” he explained.
Amblo is one of five Northeastern University students slated to participate in a nine-kilometer fundraising run on Sunday morning in support of the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program.
The program serves veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars who suffer from combat stress and traumatic brain injury. According to the program’s literature, invisible wounds affect 30 percent of soldiers who have served in either country.
The race—dubbed the 2012 Run-Walk to Home Base—starts on Yawkey Way and finishes in Fenway Park at home plate.
Northeastern student-veterans praised the program for raising awareness of wounded servicemembers. “It’s important to take care of them when they come home because they have sacrificed a lot,” said Nic Pszenny, a marine who served in Kuwait. “They are the future leaders of this country.”
Pszenny founded the Huskies for Heroes team, which plans to raise more than $6,000 prior to Sunday’s run. He and Amblo are members of the Student Veterans Association, Northeastern’s chapter of Student Veterans for America.
Amblo, who has helped raise more than $34,000 for the Massachusetts Iraq and Afghanistan Fallen Heroes Memorial Fund, agreed with Pszenny’s assessment of the Home Base Program. “One way the public can learn about what we have gone through is with fundraising events like this,” he said.
“The community wants to help, but the veterans need to be there to allow that communication to take place,” he added.
In 2009, Northeastern reaffirmed its commitment to education for veterans by pledging $2 million to the Yellow Ribbon Program. Under the program, Northeastern provides free tuition to nearly 200 veterans who have served in the post-9/11 era.
“Without Northeastern’s Yellow Ribbon Program, I never would have been able to study abroad,” said Amblo, who studied in Austria last spring and plans to complete a Dialogue of Civilizations program in the Balkans this summer. “Without Northeastern I would be much less happy.”
Andrew McCarty, an air force veteran and a staff adviser for the Students for Veterans Organization, said Northeastern student-veterans should welcome the chance to share their unique worldview with their classmates.
“They have an opportunity to bring knowledge about the world back to campus,” McCarty explained.