The Air Force Wounded Warrior Program has enhanced services to provide more comprehensive care for the wounded, ill or injured recovering service members and their caregivers. "In the past we offered adaptive and rehabilitative sports camps to wounded, ill and injured recovering service members while providing some additional opportunities for their caregivers. While the camps offered a full schedule we felt we could do more," said Marsha Gonzales, deputy chief, Air Force Personnel Center Warrior Care Division. Through personal interactions with recovering service members and caregivers, Gonzales said program managers determined they could substantially expand the camps by adding more focused and personalized services. This brought about the new Warrior CARE events, a holistic approach to providing the service and support recovering members and their caregivers have come to expect. Warrior CARE Events now include: C - Caregiver Support Program (Training and self-care opportunities for caregivers) A - Adaptive and Rehabilitative Sports Program R - Recovering Airmen Mentorship Program (Mentorship for new recovering service members who are paired with recovering service members) E - Employment and Career Readiness Program Gonzales said the intent is to move beyond just adaptive sports and provide members and caregivers with some additional life skills. For example, she said they have added a personality assessment that provides personality-driven tips to help in the recovery process. "Suddenly we see how personality can effect communication," said Margaret McDonough who is the caregiver for her husband, retired Tech. Sgt. Timothy McDonough. "It has truly helped us at home. It's a blessing and a privilege to be able to come to the events." Gonzales said they have also added instructors and career counselors to help event attendees with employment and preparation for new careers. Retired Chief Master Sgt. Darron Williams, a recovery care coordinator from Cannon Air Force, Base, N.M. helped facilitate the first 12-hour employment and career readiness seminar. "The class builds on the lessons learned from the Transition Assistance Program with a focus specifically on resume development, networking and mock interviews based upon their needs," said Williams. Warrior CARE events are held regionally each year. The next Warrior CARE event will be held at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas on Jan. 18-22. "We've really pushed to increase the effectiveness of these events," said Gonzales. "Our team is working hard to provide the best possible experience so recovering service members and their caregivers will be able to take something away that can help them in the long run." For more information on future Warrior CARE events or on the Air Force Wounded Warrior Program, visit www.woundedwarrior.af.mil.
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