Wounded Warriors Show Strength During Warrior Care Month

By Ingrid Mueller and Steve Buckley, Fleet and Family Readiness Marketing


Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michelle Howard speaks to a service member during the Warrior Games, Colorado Springs, Colo., Sept. 28. The Warrior Games is one of many opportunities throughout the year where the American public can recognize our wounded warrior heroes for their fortitude and resiliency during their journey toward recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus named November 2014 Warrior Care Month. Photo by MC2 Martin L. Carey

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus named November 2014 Warrior Care Month in an all-Navy message (ALNAV) to Navy and Marine Corps personnel, released Oct. 27.

“The Department of the Navy (DON) has made an abiding commitment to seriously wounded, ill and injured Sailors and Marines, as well as their families and caregivers,” said Mabus. “I encourage all DON personnel to take an opportunity during Warrior Care Month to join me in expressing heartfelt gratitude and support.”

Warrior Care Month is an annual effort to increase awareness of resources available to seriously wounded, ill and injured service members, their families, and those who care for them. This year’s theme, “A Show of Strength,” recognizes the fortitude and resiliency that seriously wounded, ill and injured service members exhibit during their journey toward recovery.

“This is an opportunity to join with the other military services in publicly recognizing our wounded warrior heroes,” said Navy Wounded Warrior (NWW) – Safe Harbor Director Capt. Brent Breining. This year, Warrior Care Month kicks off during the last week in October (Oct. 27-31) to accommodate the Thanksgiving holiday during the final week in November.

Since its inception, NWW has provided world-class assistance to more than 3,100 Sailors, Coast Guardsmen and their families throughout the country. It provides a lifetime of non-medical care to seriously wounded, ill and injured service members, guiding them through their recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration.

“There are a lot of disabled veterans out there, and service members suffering with various issues, whether they realize it or not, and they may feel forgotten,” said retired Lt. j.g. Laura Root, who was diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy in 2011. “We really need to raise awareness and bring them into our community and this movement.”

Each day, wounded warriors demonstrate strength in ways large and small – from pushing themselves during a grueling physical therapy session, to attending a class to acquire new skills, to asking for help when they need emotional support. Wounded warriors are not only service members wounded in combat; the term also applies to those with serious illnesses, as well as those injured in shipboard, training and liberty accidents.

“Military treatment facilities are providing expert restorative and rehabilitative care for wounded warriors whether on the battlefield or the home front,” added Breining. “And, our non-medical care providers at NWW, as well as our other Fleet and Family Support programs, address the daily needs of wounded warriors so they can focus on healing without distraction.”

The families and caregivers of wounded warriors also exhibit strength by supporting their loved ones during their recovery – often at great personal expense. The Navy connects them with critical resources to make their jobs as caregivers more manageable, including the SCAADL (Special Compensation for Assistance with Activities of Daily Living) program, FOCUS (Families Overcoming Under Stress) and the Joining Forces Peer-to-Peer initiative.

“Everyone in the Navy family can make a difference in the lives of wounded warriors,” said Breining. “They can refer a service member who has experienced serious illness or injury to NWW by calling 855-NAVY WWP (628-9997). They also can help spread the word about NWW and other resources online, in conversations with neighbors, at community meetings and around the dinner table.”

Warrior Care Month was established in 2008, when former Secretary of Defense Robert F. Gates declared it would be a “Department of Defense effort aimed at increasing awareness of programs and resources available to wounded, ill and injured service members, their families, and those who care for them.”

For more information about NWW, call 1-855-NAVY WWP/1-855-628-9997, visit http://safeharbor.navylive.dodlive.mil or email navywoundedwarrior@navy.mil. For more information about Warrior Care Month activities, visit http://safeharbor.navylive.dodlive.mil.

To view the ALNAV, visit http://www.public.navy.mil/bupers-npc/reference/messages/Documents/ALNAVS/ALN2014/ALN14076.txt

For more news from Commander, Navy Installations Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/cni/.

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