FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. -- Soldiers from Fort Campbell's Warrior Transition Battalion and their family members had a chance to discover new activities, together, during USO Warrior Week at nearby Austin Peay State University recently.
USO Warrior Week, held in Virginia Beach, Virginia, Fort Campbell, Kentucky and El Paso, Texas, is an annual event for wounded, ill and injured service members and their families. It features free, therapeutic and recreational activities, events and music for participants to enjoy and explore together.
"Anytime the family can do something together it makes an impact on the family. In particular when they can learn a new activity together, you make those memories and reconnect to family who maybe haven't been able to connect over something lately," said Kari Moore, director, USO Fort Campbell/Nashville and Fort Campbell USO Warrior Week Coordinator.
More than 70 WTB Soldiers and their family members participated, as well as Soldiers and families from the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), welcomed by the USO.
"I think this is a great opportunity for Soldiers to get out and participate in different adaptive sports," said Lt. Col. Heath Holt, commander, Fort Campbell WTB. "There are activities for every skill level, which is great. We have Soldiers who can almost do everything they could do before they were injured and others who are just beginning their recovery so it's a great mix of events for our Soldiers to get out and get active."
Soldiers at the WTB participate in 150 minutes of prescribed physical activity each week to aid in their recovery and healing. Each Soldier is evaluated by a physical therapist who provides them a variety of adaptive activities appropriate for their individual ability and recovery. The activity is good for both their physical and emotional well-being.
Maj. Leigh Weaver, assigned to the Fort Campbell WTB, and her family participated in goat yoga, which involves different yoga poses and small baby goats.
"They walk on your back and come over and you can pet them and just enjoy some peaceful time. There is always something about animals that is more relaxing," said Weaver, "I think they should have this at the WTB more frequently."
Staff Sgt. David Johnson, an Illinois National Guard Soldier, who was assigned to the WTB following a deployment, does not have family in the area but connected with fellow Soldiers at the event and was able to try out scuba diving and other water sports.
"With the transition unit, they can't schedule a lot of group activities because a lot of the activities are based off an individual's abilities to perform certain tasks. So at Warrior Week, to have the ability to pick and choose certain events that facilitate the healing, but also gets you into group activities, is really a special thing to do," said Johnson.
He and others participated in free introductory scuba classes offered by a local business.
"The mission of the USO is to strengthen America's service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country throughout their service to the nation," said Moore. "At Fort Campbell, we have a really amazing opportunity to work with the military family and to make sure they stay connected. Sometimes that means the right snack at the right time and sometimes it means impactful family programing."
USO Warrior Week featured a variety of activities for all ages and fitness levels including kayaking, team sports, golf, scuba, water aerobics, photography, songwriting, geocaching, and rock climbing. Participants were also provided free lunch coordinated through the USO and had a special viewing section for an evening concert at Clarksville's Downtown Commons.
"If a family member was deployed and came home recently, then this is something fun they can do to reestablish connections and relationships," said Moore.
The USO Fort Campbell sponsors events throughout the year for Soldiers and military family members to enjoy. Free lunch is served most weekdays at the USO Fort Campbell and they sponsor a free family dinner and movie night each month. For more information, visit the center located at 6145 Desert Storm Ave., Fort Campbell or follow them on social media.