In the blink of an eye, a Service members’ military career can drastically change due to a sudden illness, wound, or injury. When this happens many are left uncertain of the resources available to support them during their recovery. That’s where Anthony Lazzaro comes in.
While on active duty working as a Marine Corps Liaison at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNNMC), Anthony discovered his passion for assisting recovering Service members map their road to recovery.
“This was the only job that I could actually say I loved doing,” said Anthony. “It was amazing seeing their tenacious spirit as they strived through recovery.”
It was this experience that led Anthony to his current role as a Recovery Care Coordinator (RCC) for the United States Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Regiment (WWR). For the past two months, Anthony has worked as a RCC at Camp Lejeune, NC, where he supports eligible Service members by ensuring their non-medical needs are met along the road to recovery.
Recently, Anthony, along with other RCCs, Advocates and other Non-Medical Case Managers, met at a quarterly RCC training held by the Office of Warrior Care Policy. The week-long training event was designed to prepare attendees to assist wounded, ill and injured Service members and their families through the phases of recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration. The training included presentations from federal agencies and panel discussions featuring seasoned colleagues who shared their experiences, best practices and lessons learned.
Anthony found the training and the guidance of his colleagues beneficial.
“That’s what makes this job as an RCC so special. We are a team. We are here for one another. Each RCC brings a unique attribute to the team,” he said.
As an RCC and former Marine Corps Liaison, Anthony’s work has made a lasting impact on recovering Service members. During one of his more memorable experiences, he assisted a recovering Service member through the beginning phase of his recovery, including 10 surgeries, a year of rehabilitation, and his retirement from military service. Speaking with him daily, Anthony became close to him and his family. To this day, Anthony continues to be involved in this Service member’s life, and was even a groomsman in his wedding.
“It was moving to see how far the human body, mind and spirit can go,” said Anthony. “This Marine went from full mobility to losing an eye, having a TBI, major limb salvage, PTSD and much more in just seconds. It’s rewarding to see the determination of these warriors.”
For those considering becoming an RCC, Anthony offers this advice:
“You have to have an invested heart. Get to know the recovering Service member; really get to know them. They will feel more comfortable if they trust you and know you have their best interest at heart.”
This is especially important since, as an RCC, Anthony feels that the recommendations and decisions that he makes will impact recovering Service members’ lives forever.
“I can’t think of a more important job than assisting our nation’s heroes,” he said.