Summer is almost over and the back-to-school season is upon us. Please take time to read the latest installment of our Wounded Warrior Family Newsletter. There’s some great information in this edition including helpful back-to-school resources, family highlights from the 2015 Warrior Games, and a letter from our leadership! Read more, too, about the family support provided by NWW.
Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez visited Naval Support Activity Bethesda on July 27 to discuss hiring and employment initiatives with seriously wounded, ill and injured service members. Navy Wounded Warrior (NWW) – Safe Harbor Transition Care Coordinator Gary Simpson and NWW enrollee Yeoman 1st Class Theresa Brim had the distinct honor of meeting and speaking with the Secretary of Labor about Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Labor (DoL) hiring initiatives for disabled veterans.
One of the key topics of discussion involved the DoD Office of Warrior Care Policy initiative, Operation Warfighter (OWF), which is a DoD internship program that matches qualified wounded, ill and injured service members with non-funded federal internships, providing them valuable work experience during their recovery and rehabilitation. This program assists the service members’ reintegration to duty, or their transition into the civilian work environment, enabling them to employ their newly-acquired skills in a non-military work setting. The secretary and his staff lauded Simpson’s efforts in using the OWF program to secure an internship at the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) for Petty Officer Brim.
“Because Petty Officer Brim’s background is in investigations, I really tried to fit her with an internship involving research and analysis,” said Simpson. “The DIA provided the best opportunity for her to succeed in this area and for her to ultimately end up with employment after she is medically retired from the Navy.”
Simpson also briefed the secretary on how NWW transition coordinators use the DoL’s Disabled Veteran Outreach Program and local veterans’ employment representatives to obtain employment for transitioning Navy and Coast Guardsmen wounded warriors. The secretary was briefed on how his programs in the Virginia, Maryland, and D.C., areas interface with NWW’s initiatives concerning education, employment, and internships.
The inaugural Invictus Games use the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate a wider understanding and respect for wounded, injured and sick service members. The next Invictus Games will take place in Orlando, May 8 – 12, 2016 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Team USA will be ready for the challenge!
Watch video of announcement here: https://t.co/3WH6I6P5YP
Part One Excerpt:
The 2015 Department of Defense (DoD) Warrior Games concluded July 28, but not before showcasing the self-determination, resiliency, and support by DoD, shipmates, family, friends and the military medical community that is instrumental to helping our wounded, ill and injured service members overcome their physical obstacles.
Throughout the games, the athletes stayed positive, supported each other and acknowledged their physical and medical challenges as the “new normal…
Retired Navy Airman Sadie Strong joined the Navy in January 2012 because she wanted to make a difference, and to be part of something bigger than herself. In October 2012, she was assaulted and later diagnosed with post-traumatic stress. She was subsequently medically separated from the Navy.
Strong participated in her second DoD Warrior Games as a returning gold medalist, June 19 – 28 in Quantico, Va. Her mother, father, grandparents and brother drove to the Games from Maryland to support her throughout the competition.
On June 26 at Barber Tent Field House, Strong participated in the shooting competition — prone and standing (open) divisions. While Team Navy fans cheered in the stands, Strong shot with incredible accuracy and concentration, and ultimately brought home the gold medal in both divisions.
“I just started shooting in the standing division a month ago and thanks to the great coaches, I continued to practice and improve my skills, daily, leading up to the competition. Winning two gold medals is just awesome,” said Strong.
“I usually stay calm while shooting, however during the shooting prone competition, I began to feel my heart race. I clamed myself down by closing my eyes, taking deep breaths and visualizing a 10.9 score.”
She credits adaptive sports with changing her life. “When I first came in to the program I could not focus on my life and shooting has helped me over come this, keeping my mind from dwelling on the negative. When I get back home from competition, I plan to continue with shooting, possibly going for Nationals or even the Olympics.”
Strong’s mother, Michelle Walcott, congratulated her daughter after winning her second gold medal in the standing shooting completion.
“My daughter is new to this sport. Last year’s DoD Warrior Games was her first time she participated in shooting and she won gold. It is amazing to see this crazy, amazing, talent that I never knew she had. This has been a great experience for all of us and I especially appreciate Navy Wounded Warrior – Safe Harbor for introducing adaptive sports to Sadie,” said Walcott.
Team Navy is adding to its medal count at the 2015 DoD Warrior Games! Above is a photo of the bronze medal-winning archery (compound) team — which includes Navy Aviation Structural Mechanic 1st Class John Dusseau, Navy Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Roel Espino, and retired Navy Master-at-Arms 2nd Class Adrian Mohammed — posing with the Team Navy archery coach after the medal ceremony. Stay tuned for the latest news at the Navy Wounded Warrior — Safe Harbor Facebook page, and visit our DoD Warrior Games page for athlete biographies!