HomeNewsArticle Display

Warrior CARE week shows strength through teamwork

Warrior play sitting volleyball

Air Force wounded warriors practice bumps and sets during a volleyball training session at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Nov. 14, 2017. The training session was part of North East Warrior Care Week which provided attendees with mental, physical and emotional recovery services. (U.S. Air Force photo by Christopher Hurd)

CSAF shakes hand with Wounded Warrior

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein shakes hands with a wounded warrior during opening ceremonies for the North East Warrior CARE Week at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Nov. 13, 2017. The event provided seriously wounded, ill and injured Airmen, veterans and their caregivers focused and personalized service through caregiver support training, adaptive and rehabilitative sports events, recovering Airman mentorship training and employment and career readiness classes. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Gabrielle Spalding)

Warriors play wheelchair basketball

Veteran athletes participate in basketball drills at the Tactical Fitness Center at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Nov. 13, 2017. The event provided Air Force Wounded Warrior members focused and personalized care for rehabilitation, mentorship and career opportunities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Mariah Haddenham)

Archers aim

Air Force wounded warriors practice their archery skills during an Air Force Wounded Warrior CARE event training session at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Nov. 13, 2017. The archery event took place during North East Warrior CARE Week, which provided service members, their caregivers and families an opportunity to engage in physical activities, learn about the many areas of recovery and build camaraderie with other attendees. (U.S. Air Force photo by Christopher Hurd)

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md.(AFNS) -- Joint Base Andrews partnered with the U.S. Air Force Wounded Warrior Program for the North East Warrior CARE Event, held at JB Andrews and Oxon Hill, Maryland, Nov. 13-17, 2017.

CARE is an acronym for caregiver support, adaptive and rehabilitative sports, recovering Airman mentorship and employment and career readiness.

CARE events provide service to seriously wounded, ill and injured Airmen as well as veterans and their caregivers through caregiver support training, adaptive and rehabilitative sports events, recovering Airman mentorship training and employment and career readiness classes.

“These events are meant to show warriors new ways to cope and give them tools to help with their recovery,” said Marsha Gonzales, Warrior Care Support branch chief. “They will find out that the issues they deal with are being experienced by others and learn new ways to [handle] them.”

The week began with an opening ceremony during which Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein and his spouse, Dawn Goldfein, stood alongside wounded warriors and members of the JB Andrews community in a show of support.

Following the ceremony, warriors joined together to train in various sports such as wheelchair basketball, golf, sitting volleyball and archery across JB Andrews. For warrior athletes, the physical aspect of healing coincides with the mental aspect.

“The adaptive sports altogether allow me to take my mind off all of the stressors that are going on in my life,” said Frederic Rosario, AFW2 sports mentor and athlete. “They allow me to relax as well as help with physical conditioning. When we win, it helps me with my morale.”

All the hard work during training days culminated in sitting volleyball, wheelchair rugby and wheelchair basketball tournaments between the Marine Corps and Air Force on the final day of CARE week.

In addition to the athletic events, there were comedy, art and music resiliency programs, ambassador workshops, speaking events and employment boot camps.

During “painting with a purpose,” Greg Miller, AFW2 art therapy instructor and wounded warrior, with the support of his wife and caregiver, Heather Miller, conducted painting sessions. Greg went step by step, guiding people on how to paint landscapes like the Capitol Building or animals like koi fish, as a way for them to relax and heal.

“We all have different ways of expressing ourselves,” said Greg. “Whether it be with sports, art, music or writing, it’s important to seek some sort of avenue to deal with [ones] issues. It brings me joy to bring a spark in the eyes of the wounded warriors when they paint on canvas.”

Each day provided an opportunity for wounded warriors, caregivers and ambassadors to strengthen bonds and heal together. Many AFW2 members shared their experiences including Col. Nicole Malachowski, AFW2 program ambassador and first female U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds pilot, who spoke about the dedication the program has shown to her and her family as she healed from her wounds after a tick bite led to a traumatic brain injury.

“I honestly believe that the support and compassion and the work that the wounded warrior program has done on behalf of my family and myself has improved the rate of my recovery,” said Malachowski. “Our wounded warrior program is a testament to the power of continued teamwork and to what it means to be a wingman.”

CARE week ultimately gave a place for wounded warriors to break down barriers and gave them a sense of belonging, said Gonzales.

“When we bring [warriors] together they learn they are not alone and pull together as a team,” Gonzales said. “This creates a sense of family that continues well after they leave the event. At the end of the day, the Air Force is working hard to take care of their own."

It is because of this effort to help wounded warriors that the program is providing individuals the tools they need to recover. The bonds created and healing accomplished has gone as far as to impact people in the best way.

“This program saved my life,” Rosario said. “Programs like AFW2 are saving lives.”

To learn more about the AFW2 Program, visit: http://www.woundedwarrior.af.mil/

Engage

Facebook Twitter
RT @DeptofDefense: .@usairforce firefighters with the 36th Civil Engineer Squadron take part in a mock aircraft fire exercise at Andersen A…
RT @DeptofDefense: With a little help from my friends 🇬🇧 🇺🇸 The @usairforce @AFThunderbirds perform with the @rafredarrows in the largest a…
RT @AF_Academy: New Academy telescope will be largest available for public viewing in Colorado. https://t.co/0e4AJJTHUn https://t.co/uHT0Mb…
RT @DepSecDef: Congratulations to Barbara Barrett on confirmation as the 25th Secretary of the @usairforce. A businesswoman, attorney, dipl…
RT @30thSpaceWing: #DYK –VAFB is partially powered by a 200 acre, 28MW solar array, reducing its electrical demand by 35%, saving the base…
RT @WrightPattAFB: An @AFResearchLab team recently delivered version 2.0 of the Survival Health Awareness Responders Kit (SHARK) to @usairf
Watch the video of Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett being sworn in. Click the link to learn more about… https://t.co/agE0mT2cFj
RT @EsperDoD: Congratulations to Barbara Barrett, the 25th @SecAFOfficial. I know she will lead the charge to modernize @usairforce operati…
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: It’s a great day to be an Airman. Today Barbara Barrett officially became our 25th @SecAFOfficial. The men and women…
RT @DeptofDefense: Fill em up! ⛽ KC-135 Stratotankers from @RAFMildenhall refueled over 80 F-15s in a two-day exercise, offloading 480,000…
RT @SecAFOfficial: Today I officially became the 25th Secretary of the #AirForce. I'm conscious of the extraordinary privilege of working w…
RT @HQUSAFEPA: #BomberTaskForceEurope 20-1 is in full swing and B-52s from @TeamBarksdale are operating out of RAF Fairford to improve bomb…
RT @EsperDoD: During #CyberSecurityAwarenessMonth, I challenge all @DeptofDefense employees to stay committed, ensuring they are following…
RT @AirNatlGuard: Special Delivery! ✈️📦 The @109thAW teamed up with the @RCAF_ARC for Operation Boxtop, an annual resupply mission to suppo…
We strive to increase our Airmen's lethality and capabilities. Learn about firefighters leading the cost-effective… https://t.co/Nrgx3BSrtl
RT @EsperDoD: Congratulations to Barbara Barrett for her overwhelming bipartisan confirmation by @SenateGOP & @SenateDems to be the 25th Se…
Gen. Stephen Wilson visited Houston to help #SpaceCity celebrate #AstronautWeek. He visited @spacecenterhouston and… https://t.co/Nymvd98qvQ
Our Airmen continuously work to strengthen our alliances. Learn more about how EOD partnered with Niger Armed Force… https://t.co/VwRIOnBokn
Stay tuned for an upcoming episode of #HoustonWeHavePodcast by @NASA_Johnson where Gen Wilson joins Air Force Colon… https://t.co/Y7u9cHFtOt