By Maria YagerAugust 22, 2018
FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. -- Soldiers from Fort Campbell's Warrior Transition Battalion, the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and their families participated in USO Warrior Week activities in Nashville, Tennessee, Aug. 16 -- 19.
"USO Warrior Week invites wounded, ill, and injured service members to participate in various therapeutic and recreational activities in hopes to aid in their recovery and honor their service," said Kari Moore, USO Fort Campbell, center director. Soldiers from Fort Campbell and family members we're also invited to participate and enjoy the event. "It's also about the spouse and giving them a chance to do something together and explore an activity and have something to talk about and connect over," added Moore.
The Nashville event is one of three Warrior Weeks being held by the USO nationwide. The events focus on outdoor activities, music therapy, and honoring service members and their families, said USO officials.
Fort Campbell's WTB supports wounded, ill and injured Soldiers who require six months or more of complex medical care.
The Nashville Warrior Week began with a welcome reception featuring chart-topping song writers, who shared the stories behind their hits. Soldiers at the WTB are offered musical instruction sponsored by the battalion's occupational therapy team, members of the 101st Airborne Division Band and volunteers within the community. The music lessons provide WTB Soldiers a variety of benefits across the occupational therapy spectrum.
"One goal of the Army Warrior Care and Transition program is to assist Soldiers in the WTB in discovering new talents, abilities, and capabilities that increase their sense of wellbeing and confidence after being wounded, ill or injured," said Wade Binion, WTB occupational therapist who helps wounded, ill and injured Soldiers restore lost skills of daily living, like hand-eye coordination, motor skills, processing, socialization and concentration.
On day two, Soldiers and their families had a selection of physical activities to choose from including kayaking, equine assisted programming, wake surfing, zip lining, scuba diving, goat yoga, hiking and geocaching.
"We love it, especially as a couple. To have him here, he's not deployed right now, it's awesome to be able to spend time with him while we can," said Army spouse Brianna Cordova, who tried out zip lining and scuba diving with her husband, courtesy of the USO and its event partners. "It's nothing like I've been able to do before and it's awesome to see the support that they give us."
The evening ended with a free concert on Fort Campbell performed by country music recording artist Hunter Hayes. USO Warrior Week participants enjoyed in the concert from a VIP viewing area.
In addition to the previous day's activities, on the third and final day of the Nashville Warrior Week, WTB Soldiers and a USO partner set off on a 58-mile bike ride from the installation to the Nashville Warrior Week venue. Bike riding is one of many adaptive sports used by the WTB's Adaptive Reconditioning Program.
"Physically, biking is beneficial for cardiovascular health, building strength, reducing body fat, and improves circulation. The beauty of cycling and the adaptive nature of our program is there are many options for various conditions. We have upright cycles, recumbents, and hand cycles to accommodate many disabilities," said Lindsey Davison, ARP manager and physical therapist for the WTB. "Mentally, biking can help with focus, reduction of anxiety, reduction of depression and increased self-esteem. Soldiers achieve a sense of accomplishment through cycling by improving their skills, distance, and health. The cycling program gives Soldiers the ability to get outdoors and gives them a break from their day-to-day work schedule. Riding in groups gives a way for Soldiers to build friendships and network with our veterans and community organizations."
"The bike ride was great. It was a challenging experience because there were a lot of hills but I enjoyed the company," said Spc. Weston Stephens, assigned to the WTB. Stephens said he had numerous surgeries over the past year while battling stage four cancer. Now in remission, Stephens has taken up bike riding and other adaptive sports at the WTB to regain his strength in preparation for his return to duty. "This was a great event and I really enjoyed wake surfing and zip lining, too. The wake boarding host family was amazing -- a very caring group of guys."
This was the first USO Warrior Week hosted in Nashville, but Moore said there are plans to make it an annual event for Soldiers and families to enjoy.