A place of comfort
Raytheon employees help nonprofit farm build a home base for veterans
Shelby Baecker volunteered his Friday to take part in a day of service at Ironstone Farm in Andover, Massachusetts.
He’s a veteran who lives a philosophy of service. He works at Raytheon, where he contributes to the company's culture of giving.
So Baecker and a dozen members of RAYVETS, an employee group whose name stands for Raytheon Employee Veterans Network, got out their hammers and paint brushes for a day of service at Ironstone Farm. The mission: help build a retreat for veterans.
"We extend a hand, invite you in, pick up a hammer, give voluntarily of our resources - time, money, goods, services - to make a difference. And that is pretty cool," he said.
Baecker and his wife Jen - and their two toddler children, Gus and Maeve - moved to Andover when he joined Raytheon in March. As a retired Navy commander, Baecker served for 20 years. Now he’s an active member of RAYVETS,.
Home sweet home
The Ironstone farmhouse renovation will provide veterans who have experienced trauma, and their families, a safe place to call home. The initiative supports patients, veterans and Gold Star families from Raytheon’s partner, Home Base, a national organization that treats veterans with PTSD and traumatic brain injury. The new, 12-bedroom house will help veterans in transition in the same town where Baecker works and lives.
The day of service was an opportunity for Raytheon leaders and employees to come together, replacing windows, repainting rooms, helping with landscaping and doing other work for the farm, which offers equine therapy to special needs kids and veterans. One-day retreats for individuals in recovery, using the effects of bonding with horses to help people discover their inner strength, are available.
“Our customers are the men and women defending our nation, and many of our employees are veterans or part of military families,” Sam Sullivan, RAYVETS vice president of communications, said.
Raytheon, Home Base and Ironstone Farm provide opportunities and services for veterans who are healing from trauma and reintegrating into society.
Making a better life
Raytheon employees volunteer and fundraise for a wide range of events, often as part of Raytheon's two signature priorities: STEM education and military family and veteran support.
The synergy between Ironstone Farm and Raytheon is encouraging, according to Deedee O’Brien, Ironstone Farm’s executive director. This year, the farm, founded in 1960, expects to serve close to 300 veterans and families.
“Everything we do is to help make someone’s life better,” O’Brien said.
This summer, Home Base is holding its annual Run to Home Base event. The Raytheon-sponsored July 27th run raises funds to support veterans and their families. The finish line crosses home plate at Boston’s historic ballpark and Raytheon employees can sign up to run.
Last year, more than 200 Raytheon employees volunteered, ran and/or walked at the ninth annual Run to Home Base race in Boston. That event raises awareness and money to help veterans and families who suffer from post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury, anxiety, depression or co-occurring substance abuse.