SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - The Soldier and Family Assistance Center or Na Kao Puuhonua, the Warrior Place of Refuge, is a one-stop shop for the Warrior Transition Battalion Soldiers and families here to fulfill their vital mission - to heal.

"We support the Soldiers and families as much as possible in the healing process by creating an inviting home-away-from-home experience that sets them up for success," said Hank Cashen, SFAC director.

The SFAC opened in 2008 and supports more than 260 active duty, Reserve and National Guard Soldiers and families who are assigned to the Schofield Barracks WTB.

About 60 percent of these Soldiers will return to military duty after recovering from injuries, with the remainder converting to veterans in the civilian community.

"We assist the Soldier and family through the transition from the Army to the community environment," Cashen said. "We help them market themselves and translate military skills into civilian jobs."

The SFAC partners with several organizations to have counselors and liaisons on hand for education; finance; Veterans Affairs; military benefits; social services assistance; Army Career Alumni Program; Child and Youth Services; and Army Community Services.

"The commanders are really supportive of the program," said Beverly Svenaga, SFAC education counselor.

Child and Youth Services can supply free child care during medical appointments or for respite care. The social services coordinator provides one-on-one stress or anger management. Soldiers are connected with VA before medical review boards to ease the transition. ACAP assists with job searches, resume building and preparing for or hosting job fairs. Education advisors help Soldiers and family members pursue educational goals, especially with the onset of the new post 9-11 GI Bill.

"This is a one-stop shop in a family atmosphere to help locate the answers and offer as many opportunities and sources as we can, to help the Soldier fulfill his or her interest and abilities," Cashen said.

WTB Soldiers have complex medical issues that require more than six months of treatment and case management.

"The SFAC is a good partnership between the ACS, Installation Management Command and the Medical Command," he said. "We're part of ACS so garrison provides the support and facilities so we can support the WTB Soldiers and families during the recovery process."

The SFAC amenities include several plasma televisions; a DVD player with surround sound; game consoles; a pool table; a pingpong table; an Internet cafAfA; fitness equipment; a library; children's play areas; massage chairs; a relaxation room; a keyboard; and an on-site chaplain.

The SFAC receives donations from community support groups to facilitate supplies for Super Bowl or New Year's Eve parties; healthy snacks for Soldiers and families utilizing the center; and leisure time activities like books, movies toys and games.

For additional information, call the Soldier and Family Assistance Center at 808-655-7171.

Page last updated Fri March 19th, 2010 at 15:35