NEWS | Dec. 5, 2017

Show of strength: Warrior Care Month breakfast presents resources for service members

By Staff Sgt. William A. O'Brien Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

The Second Annual Warrior Care Breakfast and Information Fair was held at the Airman & Family Readiness Center here for wounded, injured and ill service members, their families, caregivers and base leadership Nov. 29, 2017.

Warrior Care Month is observed annually to showcase the recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration tools available to assist wounded service members and veterans as they transition to civilian life or return to duty.

This year’s theme is, “Show of Strength.”  The strength referenced in the theme is represented in the physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, familial and career-readiness activities service members, their families and caregivers engage in to overcome the challenges associated with being a WII service member.

“November is warrior care month and we thought having a breakfast for our wounded, ill and injured would be the perfect way to get them together with all the resource providers. We want to make sure they’re aware of everything available to them and they’re getting that information directly from the [FSS],” said Mick Mahon, 628th Force Support Squadron transition management consultant.

No two wounded service members are going to have the exact same circumstances, so it’s not possible to create blanket care or recovery plans. For this reason, when an individual enters the Wounded Warrior Program, they are assigned a Care Management Team, comprised of their commander, clinical case manager, recovery care coordinator and non-medical care manager who provide support and advocacy throughout the continuum of care.

“When I was first told I was being discharged, I was afraid,” said a service member now days from transitioning out of the military through the Air Force Wounded Warrior Program. “I wanted to do 20 years and then this happened and I thought I was just going to be left. You hear all these horror stories of veterans who have issues and can’t get help, but with this program, it’s not the case. They want you to be set up. Especially people getting out with disabilities, they want you to make sure you’re fully prepared.”

Mahon invited leadership to the event to create a better understanding of the services offered to service members. He hopes these briefings help patients and leaders learn what’s available and how the process works.

“This was very reassuring,” said Senior Airman Jessica King, who recently entered the Wounded Warrior Program as a patient. “I have no idea what it’s going to be like. I’m unexpectedly getting out of the military and I have no idea where to start on that journey, so I had a lot of questions. The speakers today really put my mind at ease.”

When an Airman faces a serious illness, injury or wound, their life plans may change. They may or may not be able to continue military service. This program helps airmen to adjust to life after entering the Wounded Warrior Program.

“I was put into the Integrated Disability Evaluation System and talked with the VA and a care management team,” said an attendee. “The care team worked with me through every step to not just make a plan for when I get out, but to get started on it and make sure it was feasible. Instead of leaving the Air Force and then filling out the paperwork for my disability rating, I was walked through the process step by step and will leave the Air Force with my disability ratings.”

The regional team of counselors and care providers are here to assist service members as they go through the process and have the knowledge to help them, something Mahon said they’re all eager to do.

“I can think of no higher honor than caring for service members and in this position. To be able to help WII service members and give something back to those who have given so much is a humbling opportunity,” said Mahon. “We are here for you if you need us.”