In recognition of Veterans Day, CVS Caremark today paid homage to nearly 50 disabled military veterans from across New England – including a father/son duo from Merrimack – treating them to a football skills camp at Gillette Stadium in partnership with the New England Patriots. The CVS Caremark/New England Patriots Veterans Skills Camp paired Patriots Super Bowl champions with veterans from New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Massachusetts for a day of fun and skills training at Gillette Stadium.
The special camp, created by CVS Caremark and the Patriots, kicked off in true Patriots style – with veterans experiencing the thrill of taking the field through an oversized Patriots helmet. It continued with veterans honing their football skills at blocking, throwing and kicking stations run by Super Bowl champions Patrick Pass, Matt Chatham, Jermaine Wiggins and Steve Nelson; a special dinner on the sidelines; and an opportunity to get autographs from and take pictures with the Patriots alumni, cheerleaders, and mascot Pat Patriot. As part of the camp, the veterans received tickets for a visit to The Hall at Patriot Place presented by Raytheon.
Merrimack residents Jason Wheeler (Army and Navy) and his father Harry "Ross" Wheeler (USMC) were both guests of honor at the event.
The CVS Caremark/New England Patriots Veterans Skills Camp was an extension of CVS Caremark’s commitment to individuals with disabilities and the company’s overall commitment to supporting military and veteran-focused organizations.
“It is such an honor to do something special for these men and women who have sacrificed so much to serve and protect our country, and it seemed fitting to partner with the New England Patriots as we recognize these veterans – some of our nation’s true patriots,” said Eileen Howard Boone, senior vice president of corporate communications and community relations for CVS Caremark. “What makes this skills camp especially meaningful is that we have a number of CVS Caremark colleagues here today volunteering their time.”
CVS Caremark teamed with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs New England Adaptive Sports program – a program of the VA Boston Healthcare System – to identify veterans to participate in the football skills camp at Gillette Stadium.
Jenny McLaughlin, adaptive sports case manager for the VA Boston Healthcare System, said, “This event provided an incredible opportunity for our veterans in New England. They thoroughly enjoyed meeting and working with past Patriot players, the team’s cheerleaders, and taking a tour of the Hall. These veterans would not have had an opportunity like this if it weren’t for the generosity of CVS Caremark and the Patriots. This event encouraged the veterans to participate in sports, socialize, and get out of their comfort zone.”
Over the years, CVS Caremark has provided charitable support to military and veteran- focused organizations, including the National Guard, Fisher House, Operation Military Embrace and the USO. The company has also worked with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Hiring Our Heroes program to identify and hire veterans, has partnered with the Boston Red Sox for the last two years on baseball skills camps at Fenway Park for disabled veterans, and has established a colleague resource group for veterans – called Valor – within CVS Caremark.