This story originally appears on Military Health System written by Gabby Bonilla and edited by Mark Oswell.
Marine Corps veteran Dario Santana is a proud family man currently working as the Navy Wounded Warrior’s Family Program manager.
In 2006, Santana was a platoon sergeant at Walter Reed National Military Medical Clinic (WRNMMC), charged with overseeing nearly 70 combat-wounded Marines. Overtime, along with the help of other Marines, this platoon grew into the Marine Wounded Warrior Regiment, with the addition of recovering Marines’ families and caregivers.
Today, Santana continues to provide wounded, ill, and injured service members, along with their families and caregivers, with the resources to get through their recovery, rehabilitation, and reintegration with the help of Navy Wounded Warrior program.
“I have a few roles since I am the Family Program manager at Navy Wounded Warrior headquarters,” Santana explained. “I work with those regions to ensure that new and current personnel are getting trained and aware of policy and procedures. When they have questions or need additional information, they come to us. I also review the Navy Wounded Warrior database, check for any irregularities or issues, and inform the team on how to fix it.”
“I’ve seen everything from caregivers asking for help with financial needs; physical, medical, mental health; and more,” he continued. “Our goal is to make sure that caregivers understand that these resources are available to them and break it down for them so they can take advantage of them. The government provides a lot of benefits, and our proactive team will assist with applications, status of applications, respite care, travel, and more.”
Through his support of wounded, ill, and injured service members, Santana has had several unique opportunities, such as supporting three Invictus Games, assisting with the annual Department of Defense Warrior Games, and even meeting Prince Harry.
“I really love being able to help people in their time of need of their lowest point,” Santana explained, as to what he enjoys most about his current role. “I joined the Marines to protect and serve my country, and I feel like I’m still doing that.”
“The Navy Wounded Warrior program has six regions throughout the nation run by admirals with their own leadership. The program is designed to assist sailors and their families with resolving non-medical hurdles, allowing service members to focus on their recovery goals and their families and caregivers to know that they are supported,” Dario said.
The Navy Wounded Warrior program coordinates the non-medical needs of wounded, ill, and injured sailors and coast guardsmen by providing individually tailored assistance designed to optimize the success of the wounded warrior’s recovery, rehabilitation, and reintegration activities. Navy Wounded Warrior works with the recovering service member (RSM) to create an individualized comprehensive recovery plan, which is a tool to help them, as well as their families and caregivers, stay on course throughout the recovery, rehabilitating, and reintegration process.