By Army Wounded Warrior ProgramApril 13, 2009
WASHINGTON - Just over 4,000 severely wounded Soldiers from the Global War on Terrorism and their families rely on the long-term support of their own Advocate.
Someone who understands their needs, addresses their concerns, and supports their goals for as long as it takes. For the past five years, the Army Wounded Warrior Program (AW2) has been that one constant, providing personalized support through local AW2 advocates, as well as working to improve wounded warrior care and expand national services.
"Before AW2, we were forced to figure everything out on our own, with only the assistance of friends and family back home," said Rosie Babin, mother and caregiver.
Her son, Cpl. (Ret.) Alan Babin, a former combat medic, was severely wounded in March of 2003 during the first days of the war in Iraq. He was moving to provide aid to a fellow soldier when he was struck by enemy fire resulting in extensive and severe internal injuries. Since then, he has undergone more than 70 surgeries.
After the Army established AW2, Rosie Babin saw a dramatic difference. "I, literally, went from being highly stressed out one hour because of a $70,000-plus invoice we received, to being totally at peace and feeling hope when the AW2 advocate took it over and had it handled. Our advocate is always here for us."
Upon injury, a Soldier is assigned an AW2 advocate and to a Warrior Transition Unit (WTU) to focus on healing. The advocate supports the WTU "triad of care" team consisting of a primary care physician, nurse case manager, and a military squad leader.
More than 120 AW2 advocates provide personalized support to Soldiers and Families across the country and beyond for as long as it takes, even post-medical retirement.
This support can take the form of connecting soldiers and Families with full benefits, educational opportunities, financial and career counseling, or assistance in continuing to serve in the Army.
"I am proud of the resources the Army has put behind caring for our wounded warriors. I want Soldiers and Families to know that the Army is committed to them and to the mission of warrior care. We take care of our own. For as long as it takes," said Gen. Peter Chiarelli, vice chief of staff of the Army.
To help honor AW2's five years of service, the program is launching an AW2 Affiliate Program for organizations to show their local support for wounded Soldiers and their Families.
For more information about the Army Wounded Warrior Program, visit www.AW2.army.mil or call toll free 1-800-237-1336.
AW2 assists and advocates for the most severely wounded Soldiers by providing individualized support for as long as it takes, wherever they are located - regardless of their military status.
AW2 assists the unique population of Soldiers who have, or are expected to receive, an Army disability rating of 30-percent or greater in one or more specific categories or a combined rating of 50-percent or greater for conditions that are the result of combat or are combat related.
Typical injuries include post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, loss of limb, paralysis, burns, blindness and hearing loss.