Since 2008, The Department of Defense has recognized November as Warrior Care Month. Each November, we celebrate the Recovering Military Community, such as its Service Members, Military Caregivers, and their families. The Warrior Care Recovery Coordination program (RCP) consists of five programs: Education and Employment Initiative (E2I), Operation Warfighter (OWF), Military Adaptive Sports Program (MASP), Military Caregiver Support, and the National Resource Directory (NRD). It is our duty to make sure that they receive an abundance of resources, care, and knowledge to make their recovery seamless, and their transition (whether back into active duty or into civilian) less stressful. This year, in honor of Warrior Care Month, we will be highlighting each of our programs!
We are starting off November by highlighting Warrior Care’s Military Caregiver Support. Military Caregivers are as diverse as our recovering Service Members, they can be the Military Spouse, a family member, or even a friend. They take on big responsibilities, such as learning new terminology, making appointments and getting their RSM to their appointment, cleaning wounds, refilling and providing the right prescriptions, the list literally goes on. As a Military Caregiver, when you are working around the clock, where do you go when you need help? That’s where Military Caregiver Support comes in, this program provides a full variety of resources and support. There are regional PEER Support Coordinators (PSC) who provide Military Caregivers in their region with personalized resources and a chance to connect with other Military Caregivers.
When a Service Member becomes wounded, ill, or injured, they are enrolled in the VA and DoD’s Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES). The IDES process can take time depending on each RSMs recovery progress, it begins with a referral to the Medical Evaluation Board (MEB) and ends upon return to duty or transition into civilian life. Throughout their IDES journey, the Warrior Care programs provide RSMs and their families with essential resources and tools to help with their recovery and prepare for their new normal.
Many RSMs share their worries about finding employment if they are not fit to return to duty. Education and Employment Initiative (E2I) assists RSMs early in their recovery process to identify their skills and match them with the education and career opportunities to help them successfully transition into civilian life. Operation Warfighter (OWF) is an internship program that matches qualified RSMs with non-funded federal internships for them to gain valuable work experience during their recovery. OWF/E2I work hand in hand to ease the stress of finding employment during an already stressful time and provides RSMs with the opportunity to learn new things and try out a new career. Also, with the help of region coordinators, RSMs can connect with local federal agencies and private sector employers. For RSMs who are concerned about providing their own accommodations, leave that to the DoD’s Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program (CAP). CAP ensures quality service and accommodations to DoD employees, agencies, and RSMs.
Warrior Care’s Military Adaptive Sports Program (MASP) provides the Recovering Military Community with opportunities to try a variety of reconditioning activities and competitive athletic activities. This allows the entire family to be involved with the RSM’s rehabilitation, and provides a fun way to stay active. Those who participate are connected with professional coaches (some who have even been to the Olympics), MSOs, VSOs, and local partners. Activities can include a large selection of adaptive sports, creative arts, and more. MASP also allows RSMs to compete during the annual Warrior Games and bring their families. Warrior Games brings all Military branches in one location to compete against each other in a multi- sport event.
One might wonder, “What resources could be available to me? How can I access any of this?” We’ve got the answer, Warrior Care’s last program: The National Resource Directory (NRD). NRD.gov has thousands of resources at the national, state, and local levels to support the Recovering Military Community, Military Families, Veterans, and friends. Whether it be transitioning into civilian life or back into Active Duty, Warrior Care RCP wants to be there every step of the way. Our programs are designed to assist Recovering Service Members, Military Caregivers, and Military families with the tools needed to have a successful (and stress-free) recovery.
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