By MaryTherese GriffinJuly 18, 2019
Fort Drum Community is one of the best partnerships according to WTB Commander
By MaryTherese Griffin, Army Warrior Care and Transition
FORT DRUM, N.Y. - With an average snowfall of 101 inches a year, many associate Fort Drum, New York with winter and cold. However, U.S. Army Lt. Col. Theodore Sobocienski, Commander of the Warrior Transition Battalion at Fort Drum, says despite all the snow, the surrounding community is as warm and welcoming as they come, to his Soldiers in transition.
"The community here understands the Warrior Transition Program. Everything here is focused on our Warrior Transition Battalion," Sobocienski said. "One example of this is the relationship the WTB has with the local hospital, an important relationship because the Fort Drum WTB does not have a base hospital for medical care. If one of our Soldiers goes across the street to the community hospital, there is a kiosk that asks are you in the Warrior Transition Battalion, you check yes and boom you are now number one. It's not like that in any mainstream hospital in the country," said Sobocienski.
Across upstate New York from Watertown to Syracuse to Rochester, the community supports the Soldiers in the program.
"The community partnership is so strong up here at Fort Drum and people who come here from other areas see that and say that." Sobocienski said. "The transition services alone and the amount of resources [offered to Soldiers in transition] are incredible. From college courses to Department of Labor to finances for assistance in budgeting, our Soldiers have support."
Sobocienski is keenly aware that many Soldiers think coming to a WTB is the "kiss of death," but he says they quickly learn that it is far from it. He wants Soldiers in his care as soon as possible before their issues escalate. He says he can put them on the right path if they are staying in or getting out of the Army.
"The main purpose [of the WTB] is for Soldiers to heal and transition. If they can get Soldiers to me, I can help them," Sobocienski said. "Readiness is number one and I explain if I can heal a Soldier and return them to duty, I saved the Army's investment."
This commander insists Soldiers need to speak up right away about injuries or illnesses so they do not get worse.
"Here you are allowed to focus on you- healing and transitioning. Now is the time to say what hurts and what's wrong. This place, this community has you covered."