From Soldier to advocate to surrogate mom
By MaryTherese Griffin, Army Warrior Care and Transition
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - U.S. Army veteran Sue Maloney never thought she would join the Army, let alone make a life of helping Soldiers.

"It was at the end of the Vietnam War and I didn't have any options to pay for college or to live so I joined the Army." During her Army career, Maloney went from reluctantly joining the Army, to loving her Army family, and then having an Army family of her own with retired Army Chief Warrant Officer Jerry Maloney. They have three grown children and three grandchildren.

After her service in the Army as a Chaplain's Assistant, Maloney vowed to keep helping Soldiers, even after she became a civilian. Since 2007, she has worked as an Army Wounded Warrior Program Advocate in Washington State - one who many consider a "second mom."

"I'm always very clear with the Soldiers. I am someone who cares about them and they have a piece of my heart," says Maloney. "They know that I care and many of them will share things they don't share with their loved ones, they don't share with their therapists, they don't share with other people. I offer support, resources and understanding."

The bond Maloney builds with her Soldiers is concrete as she helps them figure out how to overcome challenges with finances, education, employment or life in general. "They trust me with amazing things; the good; the bad and the ugly," says Maloney, who admits she may not have all the answers, but that does not mean she cannot find them. "I always say I do not have to be smart, I just have to know smart people. I listen to my Soldiers and their families and we try to figure it out."