FALLS CHURCH, Va. - Retired Sgt. Maj. Alim Ahmand has a message for Soldiers, and he feels more confident than ever sharing it. “Put your pride to the side and ask the questions. Even the dumb ones.”
Ahmand spoke with Recovery Care Coordinators at the Biennial Training for the Army Recovery Care Coordinators Directorate at Fort Liberty in June and explained when a Soldier is medically retired it’s the toughest, most uninformed time in a Soldiers life. The former Director of Operations for ARCCD says giving your full attention during and after service is paramount.
“When a Soldier came to my office, I always stopped what I was doing, it was about them. I had a Soldier once who needed my help tell me they were floored I stopped everything to focus on them. They told me I thought you hated me because you never look happy,” said the six foot six now Senior IT Project Manager in the private sector who says, he really does smile.
Ahmand fondly reflects on the impact he made on Soldiers and sees a similar legacy with Recovery Care Coordinators. He sees the mission continuing for the rest of a Soldier’s or Veteran’s life because of the work RCC’s do.
“The experience you gave that Soldier, or that Veteran, whether they come back and tell you or not, it goes a long way. The knowledge, that information is not in front of us as Soldiers,” says Ahmand. He applauds the longevity of RCC’s and their history of helping Soldiers.
“The RCC’s, they’ve been doing it for so long. They are like a walking encyclopedia or dictionary. They are not only on the forefront on steps Soldiers need to take but what should they need to take advantage of when they retire.”
He says seriously there is no such thing as a dumb question from a Soldier and that advocates truly help the mental aspect of separating from the military the most. “The RCC’s are going to have that talk about what a Soldier is going to go through mentally. The RCC sitting in that chair very likely was in their shoes, so they get it but now they have the knowledge to share.”
Having great connections and answers galore for the Soldiers to start the rest of their lives caused Ahmand to remind them to not forget about themselves. The mission never ends but it’s important to recharge and refresh to do that mission.
“The RCC’s need to take care of themselves as RCC’s because once people know how much you know, they will keep coming back and it can be tiring so take care of yourself. “