Army Spouse and Caregiver explains the role she has that most don't see
By MaryTherese Griffin, Army Warrior Care and Transition
TAMPA, Fla. -- Alicia Lammers takes her role in life with her husband, retired Staff Sgt. Mathew Lammers, very seriously. He is her life and most don't see what that daily routine is like. "Matt has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, two brain injuries, a triple amputee and I have a lot to do but I do it with joy," she said.
"When Matt said he wanted to go to Army Trials and get to Warrior Games, the training he does for all of this becomes our daily life - not just his ...OURS. His goal becomes my goal. His medals are my medals," she explained with a proud smile. They are Team Lammers and they along with other spouses who are caregivers here at the 2019 Department of Defense Warrior Games know they are vital to the success of their Soldier in their new normal.
"To me, it's as equally important to have us here as it is having the athlete because we are here for support, we are here to help out physically and mentally. We are involved in all the prepping and all the training," said Alicia.
Sounds like a coach, right? It's a little more involved than that according to Lammers. For example, she times him in swimming with a stop watch at the pool when he trains but she goes so much further in her coaching. "I have a dry erase board that I write on and I have to do it because he likes swimming at least three miles a day. I write on that board; you are a half mile or two miles and I hold it up on the edge of the lane so he sees it or he'll keep going. And if I see he is getting tired, that is my plan C so I turnaround his wheel chair that has his patches on the back. It has his purple heart, his cross rifles and his 10th Mountain Division patch and that's his reminder he's not just doing it for him or for me he's doing it for his brothers because they are not here. They don't have the opportunity he has even as a triple amputee to be with his loved ones and to get to swim in that pool."
Alicia is all in as she says, and she has to be. The dedication is awe inspiring.
"It doesn't get to stop when he gets in the water to swim. He needs to get out of the water; someone needs to help him with his shower and dress him; drive him back home; special meals at dinner; getting everything washed for the next day and it starts all over again. That's what I do," she said with a grin.
So when fans are cheering for Team Army, Alicia shares in that with utmost pride.
"At these 2019 Warrior Games, I feel that my worth as a caregiver has so much value - the staff, the active duty, really everyone are so inclusive of the spouses...it makes us feel like we are part of the team."