SEPTEMBER 12, 2016, JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (NNS) – Navy Region Southeast hosted a Navy Wounded Warrior Safe Harbor Symposium and Resource Fair Sept. 8, at Naval Air Station Jacksonville.
NWW provides more than 4,000 Sailors and Coast Guardsmen and their families with non-medical assistance while they recover from serious illness or injury. Program participants from around the southeast region attended in the event, sharing their stories and learning more about transition assistance at the resource fair.
“This event is a great opportunity for all the key stakeholders of the NWW program to meet, talk, and share experiences so we can improve the services we provide,” said Lt. Ruben Guevara, NWW Safe Harbor program director for Navy Region Southeast. “Today is also a chance to get the word out to those who may not be aware of the program.”
Chief Warrant Officer Carmelo Sanchez spoke of his struggle with a cancer diagnosis during a panel discussion at the symposium.
“As leaders, we are trained to take care of our Sailors,” he said. Sanchez, who joined the Navy in 1987 and deployed 14 times, said it was difficult to ask for help. “When it was me who needed care, it was different; it wasn’t easy. But the Navy Wounded Warrior–Safe Harbor program reached out to me and my family and they have made a tremendous difference in my life.”
According to Guevara, most of the NWW program participants will eventually face medical retirement. Regional non-medical care staff members support each enrolled service member’s recovery, rehabilitation, and reintegration needs. The resource fair featured an array of transition support organizations, from the Veterans Administration, Department of Defense, and local veterans groups, who were on-site to provide counseling and educational materials.
Coast Guard Fireman Christopher North attended the event with his wife and said he appreciated the resource fair information.
“It is surreal to think about getting out of the military, because this was supposed to be my life plan,” he said. “Now I am going back to college and, with the help of Navy Wounded Warrior–Safe Harbor, I feel more prepared to face the future.”
The program is a department of Fleet and Family Readiness within Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC).
Capt. Brent Breining, director, Navy Wounded Warrior–Safe Harbor, said it is important to get the word out to command leaders who may not be aware of this valuable program. “We want commands to know that this is the Navy’s sole program for wounded warrior non-medical care,” he said. “When a Sailor or Coast Guardsman is facing a chronic illness or injury, we are there to provide the resources and support.”
Enrollment in NWW is available to service members wounded in combat, as well as to those diagnosed with a serious illness or injured in shipboard, training, and liberty accidents. For more information, contact the 24/7 Call Center at 855-NAVY WWP/628-9997 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.