With all due respect to Dewey, Lund was shoulder-to-shoulder with real heroes during a tour in Iraq as a member of the U.S. Marines. Unfortunately, many of his fellow soldiers became saddled with combat stress disorders, both overseas and upon returning to the states.
Although he will cross home plate on May 23 at Fenway Park, where Evans was a star, when he takes part in the Run to Home Base 9K, Lund will be thinking of those colleagues first and foremost.
"I’ve seen it firsthand," said the 30-year-old Lund, who now lives in Rhode Island. "I’ve dealt with Marines and have had friends that…a lot of times it’s something they don’t want to admit to having. That makes it harder to deal with because you don’t know how to approach someone like that.
"Especially in the Marine Corps. The mentality of I can deal with anything. You don’t want to admit your weaknesses."
Lund hopes that events such as the race — which raises money for the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital’s program for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injuries (TBI) — draws more attention to the problem. The visibility of the Red Sox cannot hurt.
"To have a high-profile organization like the Red Sox really get into this and put it out there, that may get someone with PTSD to step forward and say, 'Yeah, I have a problem,' and then go and get some support," he said.
Through duty as part of the operation in Fallujah in 2004-05 and during Iraq’s first democratic election in December 2005, Lund was involved in some extremely intense environments.
Out of necessity for the job at hand, the pace was always quick, always hurried. Contrast that with a return home, where a night might involve something as simple and laidback as meeting your buddies at the corner bar. It’s not an easy adjustment to make, Lund said.
"You’re so used to the quick pace of lifestyle while you’re over there, when you come back here everything just slows down and you kinda don’t know what to do at first," said Lund, who has seen friends hit the bottle pretty hard. "For a couple of months it takes a little time to adjust. You drink a little more than you usually do at times, just out partying at night.
"It’s a tough adjustment at first. Usually it goes away, but I know for some guys it just doesn’t go away."
Fundraising efforts for Lund have involved hitting up family, friends and fellow veterans. Donations from that last group mean the most to Lund, as many do not make much money, and all understand the cause.
That’s what will make the run on the 23rd different from others in which Lund has taken part. Sure, running into Fenway and crossing home plate will be a thrill, but his surroundings throughout the race will mean that much more.
"I don’t think I’ll ever run in a race where everyone who is running in it is a fundraiser," he said. "Everyone is running in it for a reason, not just because they want to go for their best time or they are a regular road racer. You gotta really have something invested in this cause. I’m just really looking forward to running alongside people who care. That’s gonna be the best part of the race."
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