November highlights Warrior Care Month
November 7, 2013
FORT SILL, Okla. (Nov. 7, 2013) -- The Army has designated November as Warrior Care Month with the theme "Warrior Care Building a Ready and Resilient Force."
The goal is to focus on activities that will emphasize the care that wounded, ill and injured Soldiers receive while strengthening their commitment to being resilient in all phases of their lives.
"We're defining it as ready and resilient, but it's something that we've always been doing; preparing the Soldiers for the next stage in their career -- their military life or their civilian life and being resilient to meet the challenges that come with that. Our Soldiers in the Warrior Transition Unit are ready and resilient," said Capt. Justin Crowe, WTU commander.
"Our Soldiers' mission is to recover and heal, and we set the conditions so that they can make that recovery. Then they can transition back into the active force or into the civilian world. We've already plugged in a lot of the enablers on the installation and in the community that help our Soldiers be ready for the road ahead," Crowe added.
He explained the WTU at Fort Sill works with the triad team (doctors, nurse case managers and social workers) at Reynolds Army Community Hospital to prepare Soldiers as best as possible for that next stage of life, while adding the resiliency focus as well.
"Our Soldiers in this unit are an example of an all-volunteer Army. They joined the Army because they wanted to serve in the military. When some of them find out that, because of medical reasons, they are not going to be able to continue their military career, it can be a jarring experience. That's where we start building resiliency with them as they make the transition to the civilian world. We do that through our transition specialists, through job opportunities, career fairs and preparing them for what life is like as a civilian," Crowe said. "That includes the Soldier's family, because it's a shock to them as well when their Soldier is no longer in the military."
The 2013 Warrior Care Month began with a prayer breakfast Nov. 1, led by RACH Chaplain (Capt.) Daniel Herring.
"One of the important domains we work with is the spiritual. We work on the mind, body, spirit aspects of the holistic approach in conjunction with the chaplains to provide that element of resiliency," Crowe said.
"Each week has a special emphasis for what we offer for the Soldiers. In the first week we focus on helping Soldiers prepare for their transition to the civilian world and what their future will look like. The career expo offers them a look at job and education opportunities they may not have considered before," Crowe said.
"We also are concerned with the health and nutrition needs Soldiers have. Many of them have never prepared meals for themselves, and often opt for fast food or pizza delivery. So during the second week we are staging a class to show them what they need to do to prepare and eat healthy meals. And, the other part of being healthy is exercise, so we have planned several physical activities during the week to challenge our wounded warriors to find ways of being active. The bicycle race has become a popular event where Soldiers ride different bicycles: traditional, recumbent bikes and adaptive cycles where Soldiers pedal with their hands depending on their physical limitations," he said.
"The third week we are focusing on family. The family workshop will feature classes for Soldiers and their spouses, and we will have some fun activities for the children. We will also have a marriage resiliency seminar at the SFAC center and a family bowling event at Twin Oaks Bowling Center," he said.
Crowe added to end the month, the WTU wants to give back to the community for all of the support the wounded warriors receive from the Lawton-Fort Sill community. So the WTU is collecting canned foods to donate to the Lawton Food Bank, which has been hit hard by overwhelming need from the recent government shutdown.
"We just want the community to know how much we appreciate all of the things they do to help wounded warriors as they go through their time of transition. We want every Soldier to be as ready and resilient as they can as they enter the next stage of their lives," Crowe said.