“Why would anyone come here when they can go anywhere else for recovery?” That’s what SGM Alex P Rushton, a former Soldier at the Fort Riley Soldier Recovery Unit (SRU) shared with Army leadership this week. He answered his own question with “Because it worked.”
Rushton, who is part of the Continuation on Active Duty (COAD) Program shared his experience with a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) that landed him at the Fort Riley Soldier Recovery Unit in 2018. His opening remarks at the 2022 Leadership Summit for the Army Recovery Care Program were captivating. “I thought, this is it… it’s over for me,” explained Rushton who detailed his injuries from deployments causing the TBI. He wanted a career in the Army and saw his years of hard work disappearing.
“I got to know some of the other Soldiers at the SRU. I talked with a Lieutenant nurse who was there. She told me how she was recovering from brain surgery,” said Rushton who is now realizing there is a whole program awaiting him to help him recover and overcome or move forward in retirement. He embraced his new opportunities at the SRU. “I started participating in activities and events, stuff I never thought I would do, like art. It helped and it was good. It all worked out.”
Hearing from someone who not only participated in the program but continues to work helping Soldiers in Recovery set the agenda for the annual three -day summit at the Fort Belvoir Community center.
Commanders and cadre shared their concerns and victories with ARCP leadership. “The opportunity to shape the policy, write the policy and implement the policy to help make life easier at each Soldier Recovery Unit starts here,” said multiple members of the ARCP Leadership Staff.
“I think the important thing about the leader summit is it gives the command teams the opportunity to come in and share best practices. And what works for them in their SRU’s. We aren’t co-located with each other, we are far apart and sometimes feeling like we must solve issues on our own but when we come together like this, we can figure out how to fix things,” said LTC Joe Reagan, Commander of the Fort Campbell SRU.
From Adaptive Reconditioning to the Implementation of the “Transition Tracker” in the Army Recovery Care System, the summit offered interesting ways forward to make life easier throughout the program.
The summit concluded with the Cadre Awards. Congratulations to Fort Hood’s SRU for receiving Soldier Recovery Unit of the Year!