By Ms. Gloria Montgomery (Army Medicine)November 30, 2012
A group of Warrior Transition Brigade spouses recently were able to kick off their shoes, relax and enjoy a day of pampering and pedicures, thanks to the Wounded Warrior Project.
"A fantastic stress reliever," said Elise Scarbrough about her facial and pedicure, grateful for the pampering and time away from her husband, who is a Soldier in D Company, 1st battalion. "It takes a lot of my stress out so I'm not as irritated at my husband when we get home," adding that her caregiver duties for the past year include driving her husband to work as well as spending most of her day with him at his company.
The day-long event at Skin Deep in Harker Heights was part of the WTB's observance of Warrior Care Month, which celebrates the resiliency of Soldiers and their Families in the healing and transitioning process of the Army's wounded, ill and injured. The theme for this year's campaign is: Success through Transition -- Education, Employment, Entrepreneurship."
"The Family is very important to the wounded warrior," said Scarbrough, "because the Family needs to know what's going on. I'm not a Soldier but I feel like it at times because I'm always at Delta Company and know just as much as the Soldiers do about what's going on. Being involved helps me to be better able to take care of my husband."
"Spouses," said Lt. Col. Chris Cook, WTB 1st Battalion commander, "need to just take time off sometimes, which is why we have events like our spouse spa day.
Before sending the group of seven off to the spa for their special time, Cook briefed the spouses and caregivers on WTB's Soldier Family Assistance Center's resources that include resume consults, job services, free child care, finance help, marriage counseling and education assistance.
"We have an incredible amount of resources available to you through our SFAC, Family Readiness Group and our chaplain," Cook said.
The only male in the group, Padro Navarro, whose wife is in B Company, 1st Battalion, said the day made him feel special.
"When people think of spouse, they think females," he said, "but they would be totally wrong," adding that war and Family is the common bond between them. "It's different points of views, because war changed my wife just as much as war changed their husbands."
Navarro said the bottom line is that the real core of healing and transitioning is the Family.
"All the spouses that are here need to be together for the health of our spouses, so our spouses are less stressed," said Navarro, who indulged in both a back massage and a manicure. "It's great that the WTB is backing us up so that we can back up our husband or wife."
Heather Hebert said she was thankful for the day-long event because she not only was able to get away from both her husband and her kids, but vent with her fellow spa companions.
"It's great to be able to share what each of us is going through," she said. "I'm now less stressed and easier to deal with because I'll have more patience with the stuff my husband throws out at me. This helps me help him heal," adding that the event also helped her connect with a spouse from her husband's company.
"I don't have Family here so it's been nice to connect with someone and have a support system for the husband stuff -- the surgeries, the nightmares," Hebert said on meeting Ashley Freeces during the spa event, adding that another family event bonded them. "We both have new babies."
For Mariana Fuller, the spa event plus the amount of resources available to spouses of WTB Soldiers surprised her.
"My husband has been in C Company less than a month," she said, "and it's pretty amazing all the services available to us," adding that she had an SFAC appointment for help with her resume following the spa event.
Also new to the WTB is Maribel Wright, whose husband is in C Company, 1st Battalion. Admitting she needed a bit of her husband's encouragement to treat herself to a day at the spa, Wright was glad she did.
"I feel important today because of all the pampering," she said. "It's very special, and I thank the Army and the WTB for this opportunity."