By Charmain BrackettApril 9, 2009
FORT GORDON, Ga.-- (April 6, 2009) Retired Brig. Gen. Stephen Xenakis was on a fact-finding mission on March 30 to learn how to better serve the nation's Wounded Warriors.
The senior adviser for the Office of the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Wounded Warrior and Survivor Care Task Force visited Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center, where he was once commander and the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center Active Duty Rehabilitation Unit. He also sat in on a transition round table with the Central Savannah River Area Wounded Warrior Care Project.
"I think you all are leading the way," said Xenakis to the members of the civilian and military community participating in the round table meeting. "I don't think anyone has if all figured out."
Issues discussed at the round table included an upcoming job fair with a special emphasis on those with traumatic brain injury; a new pain management project; an update on a Veterans Court which provides treatment for those who've been arrested in non-violent offenses; and a veterans' computer training initiative.
"What is done here is something vital. It's a national issue - how we care for our warriors, their Families and survivors," he said. "At these sorts of round tables people are able to join hands."
Xenakis said he was especially pleased to see the VA's Active Duty unit and learn about the collaboration between the VA and Eisenhower.
"Ten years ago, Doug Barnard (former U.S. Congressman) and I published an op/ed piece to bring the DOD and VA together," he said.
It received a lot of criticism at the time, he said.
Xenakis said he would take back lessons learned in the area and pass them on to see if other communities could follow the pattern Augusta has made.
Laurie Ott, executive director of the CSRA Wounded Warrior Care Project, said she was excited to hear Xenakis' comments that Augusta was leading the way.
"It sounds like we are on the right track," she said.