By Jeff CrawleyNovember 20, 2008
FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas - Leaders from the Army medical community reaffirmed the service's commitment to provide world-class care to wounded Soldiers and their Families by signing the Army Warrior Health-Care Covenant Nov. 13 at Fort Sam Houston.
Army Surgeon General Lt. Gen. Eric Schoomaker and Command Sgt. Maj. Althea Dixon, CSM of the Medical Command, signed the covenant during a conference with senior medical officials.
"This is not a flash in the pan; it's a sustained pledge," Schoomaker said. "This is going to be here for the duration as long as we are medics, as long as the next generation of medics are around we're going to be taking care of them (wounded, ill and injured Soldiers) and their Families."
The covenant pledges sustained care that is commensurate with the sacrifices that Soldiers and their Families have made, Schoomaker said. It provides for first-rate care in a healing environment for recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration.
Wounded warrior Staff Sgt. Jason March and his wife, Sandra, who represented all Warriors in Transition and their Families for the ceremony, also signed the covenant.
Sgt. March, who suffered a traumatic brain injury after he was shot in the head by a sniper while in Iraq, said he was told he might never walk, talk or see again.
"I want to thank all of BAMC (Brooke Army Medical Center). They have done a remarkable job," said Sgt. March, a combat engineer. "I have been here almost three years. I made it up that flight of stairs, I see every single one of you and I'm telling you my story."
Sandra March, who quit working as a dental assistant to become a caregiver for her husband, said the covenant should be beneficial.
"Any improvements to make things better for wounded warriors and their Families is a good thing," she said.
Warrior Care Month, November, is a chance for the DoD and Army to focus on the wounded, ill and injured Soldiers and their Families, Schoomaker said.
"It's an opportunity how we, the total Army community and U.S. community, can be innovative and supportive of these great Americans," he said.
Afterward, the 40 attendees at the Major Medical Subordinate Command Commander's Conference signed the covenant and thanked the Marches for their service.
The Army Warrior Health-Care Covenant
Aca,!Ac We are grateful for the contributions of warriors and their Families.
Aca,!Ac We will provide warriors and their Families the highest quality of care and services possible to honor their contributions to our nation.
Aca,!Ac We will provide the assistance needed by warriors and their Families during the healing process.
Aca,!Ac We will provide initiatives and programs for warriors and their Families that support their transition back to duty or their continued service to our nation as a veteran.
Aca,!Ac We will provide an environment that is conducive to healing by focusing on body, mind, heart and spirit.
(Jeff Crawley works in the Fort Sam Houston Public Affairs Office)