JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas --
The Air Force Wounded Warrior (AFW2) Program, in conjunction with the U.S. Army Warrior Care and Transition Program and U.S. Navy Safe Harbor Foundation, will host a Warrior CARE Event Aug. 27-31 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, where more than 120 wounded, ill or injured service members from across the nation are expected to participate.
“CARE” represents several AFW2 support programs: Caregiver Support, Adaptive Sports and Ambassador Workshop, Recovering Airman Mentorship Program and Resiliency Programming, and Empowerment in Transition.
“This is a joint partnership with our Army and Navy brothers and sisters; here, we are able to help build confidence among our warriors and increase life skills as they continue on in their personal roads to recovery,” said Col. Michael Flatten, AFW2 director. “Many of these participants have overcome incredible hardship just to be here; these CARE events give us the opportunity to honor and support those tremendous sacrifices and we could not be more proud to be part of that.”
The most physical component of the event tends to be the adaptive sports portion, which helps warriors by promoting mental and physical wellness and teamwork. This provides opportunities for recovering service members to develop independence, confidence and fitness through sports. Here, participants are introduced to healthy behavior changes, stress management, mental health, nutrition and weight management, physical fitness and activity. Wounded Airmen train and compete in events such as air pistol and rifle shooting, archery, cycling, sitting volleyball, swimming, wheelchair basketball, and track-and-field competitions including shot-put and discus.
The AFW2 Program hosts six CARE events each year across various U.S. regions, and supplies athletes for the annual Department of Defense Warrior Games and Invictus Games. The program is administered by the Air Force’s Personnel Center and includes non-medical care managers and other professionals who work with wounded warriors, families and caregivers to help guide them through various day-to-day challenges. Care managers coordinate with recovery care coordinators who are strategically placed at bases throughout the Air Force.
"Coming out and participating in these events is arguably one of the most rewarding experiences," said Flatten. "Witnessing the change in these warriors from the moment they first arrive at the events to witnessing them come out at the end of a week… it is just an amazing transformation. You can see and feel the bonds formed here and believe when they say this is their new family."
For more information about AFW2, visit their official website, and be sure to like their Facebook page for program updates, upcoming events and the latest news.