Married couple, WTB cadre use resilience, performance skills to earn trust of wounded warriors
May 28, 2014
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FORT BRAGG, N.C. (May 28, 2014) -- Staff Sgt. Zackary and Staff Sgt. Jessica Crum are using the resilience and performance skills they learned in training to build a community of trust at work in the Fort Bragg Warrior Transition Battalion, and also at home.
The Crums not only serve as cadre members together as part of the Fort Bragg Warrior Transition Battalion, but they are also certified Master Resilience Trainers and spouses. They are both Army Reservists, who met in 2010, married, and moved to the Fort Bragg community, in 2012. Soon after, they went through the intensive 10-day course that certifies Soldiers as Master Resilience Trainers, or MRTs.
They now manage the Fort Bragg Warrior Transition Battalion's resilience program, and are seeing first-hand how effective the skills they learned during the MRT course can be for wounded warriors.
"With wounded warriors, when they come to trust you is when you can really help them, and the resilience and performance skills I learned in [the MRT course] directly help us to establish that trust," said Zackary Crum.
The Master Resilience Trainer course certifies Soldiers, Army spouses (statutory volunteers) and Army civilians to conduct formal resilience training to members of the total Army. Part of the Army's Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness program, this train-the-trainer course teaches 12 resilience skills and two performance skills, all meant to improve the overall health and resilience of those who serve and their families.
Resilience skills like Effective Praise and Active Constructive Responding seem to establish that foundation of trust from the beginning, Zackary Crum believes.
"By moving on to skills such as Effective Praise and Active Constructive Responding, we start to learn what's going on in their lives and trust gets established," he said. "They let us know everything, and come to us for help and advice at that point. These relationships often last well beyond their stay at the [warrior transition battalion]. I'll get calls from Soldiers I had over a year ago."
The Soldiers in the care of the Crums suffer a wide variety of wounds, from multiple amputees, broken bones, shrapnel and burns to post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, anxiety and depression.
"There's no pattern to who will be resilient and who won't based on their wounds," explained Jessica Crum. "We had an amputee with one arm who used his 30-day convalescence leave to re-tile his entire kitchen floor, and we had a Soldier with a broken tibia who just wasn't responsive to anything we had to offer."
Goal Setting, a performance skill, helps Soldiers develop a concrete, step-by-step plan for achieving a personally meaningful goal and maintaining the motivation necessary to be successful. This skill is especially critical to Wounded Warriors who may be unsure of what their future holds, both personally and professionally.
"They never imagined they would be there, neither did their families, so they often come in with a very negative attitude. Where you really see [the change] is in Goal Setting," said Zackary Crum. "It's a performance skill that helps us go over their goals with them. If they take it seriously, they can come out of the [warrior transition battalion] with technical certificates and jobs. For example, one of my Soldiers now owns three businesses."
The Crums recognize the value of these skills in their personal lives, as well.
"The skills have also helped [Zackary] to bond with my 8-year-old daughter from a previous marriage," Jessica Crum said. "He was not used to dealing with children."
Zackary Crum credits the MRT course for helping him realize he needed to improve his communication with his step-daughter.
"After taking the MRT course, I realized that I was getting too easily irritated around my step-daughter," he explained. "I was often short with her, so I used the resilience skill of recognizing Activating Events, Thoughts and Consequences, a skill that helps you identify your thoughts about an activating event and the consequences to those thoughts. This skill helped me develop the self-awareness and self-regulation I needed to change this pattern. I saw an improvement in our relationship very quickly after that."
Both Zackary and Jessica Crum agree that anyone can benefit from the skills, and that it is most important to put the skills into action on a daily basis. They live the skills they were taught, and have seen an impact on their careers and within their family, and hope those they are passing the skills on to will experience the same.
For more information about the U.S. Army Warrior Transition Command, visit http://wtc.army.mil.
For more information about the U.S. Army's Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness program, visit http://csf2.army.mil.