Promotion of therapy dog highlights importance of Warrior Care

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Torri Ingalsbe
  • Air Force Public Affairs Agency, Operating Location – P
A second lieutenant at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center had the honor to be promoted directly to the rank of major by Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III here Nov. 12.

Second Lt. Goldie, a therapy dog at the hospital, works with wounded warriors and their families as they transition back into life after an injury or serious illness.

“These are remarkable living beings in my mind, and the gift they give is something that we can’t all give,” Welsh said. “It’s not just standing beside our great warriors on the battlefield and protecting them there, it’s caring for them after they get home and transition into the rest of their life.”

Goldie’s promotion comes in the middle of Warrior Care Month, a Department of Defense-wide 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.

“The definition of the term ‘wounded warrior’ has evolved in recent years beyond service members who are wounded in combat,” said Steve Otero, the Air Force Wounded Warrior program communications officer. “In addition to serving combat-wounded Airmen, AFW2 also assists service members who are diagnosed with serious illnesses or seriously injured in accidents. Unseen wounds are not forgotten.”

The AFW2 program offers a myriad of services and programs to facilitate the care and treatment of wounded service members, based on the individual.

“We’re really able to provide wounded warriors with a holistic approach to healing,” Otero said. “Each service member receives treatment unique to their specific needs, and we deliver personalized services for each individual Airman.”

The AFW2 program assists wounded Airmen and their families by coordinating medical and non-medical services; developing comprehensive recovery and transition plans; minimizing gaps and delays in treatment and services; ensuring the Airmen receive applicable entitlements and benefits; assisting with financial needs; partnering with private organizations; providing education and employment assistance; managing the Family Liaison Officer program; connecting with outreach and event opportunities; and offering adaptive sports programs.

“Air Force wounded warriors, regardless of whether they choose to continue on active duty or transition to veteran status, will remain part of the AFW2 family,” Otero said.

The month will be marked by five signature events running from Nov. 13 to 24: a caregiver adaptive rehabilitation experience at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, the First Annual Caregiver Symposium, and the First-Annual Air Force Warrior and Caregiver Recognition dinner.

Activities at the Pentagon include a seated volleyball tournament between active-duty and veteran athletes from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Special Operations Command, and an art exhibition Nov. 20.