PHOTO CAPTION: Sgt. 1st Class John Podhirny of the Maneuver Area Training and Equipment Site 64, Colorado National Guard, explains some features of an up-armored Humvee to Ranya Kelly, right, and Dr. Grove Higgins as part of the "Warriors Give Back" event hosted by the Warrior Transition Battalion on Sept. 10, 2010. Kelly is the founder of the Redistribution Center, and Higgins is the president of LifeQuest Transitions. (Photo by Stacie L. Shain, Fort Carson Warrior Transition BN, cleared for public release, not for commercial use, attribution requested.)
Warriors in transition share experience
Sep 27, 2010
By Stacie L. Shain (Fort Carson Warrior Transition BN)
FORT CARSON, Colo.-If it takes a village to raise a child, then it also takes an entire community to support a wounded warrior who is transitioning back to the Army or out into the civilian world.
To give community leaders a sense of what the Warrior Transition Battalion is all about, Soldiers from the unit hosted a "Warriors Give Back" event Sept. 10.
The event was designed to give guests an insider's view of the Army and also to explain the mission of the WTB and how the unit is helping wounded warriors make their individual transitions.
The day's activities included a tour of the post, a weapons demonstration led by members of the WTB, an opportunity to try weapons and convoy simulators, a Humvee demonstration and a tour of the Warrior Recovery Center. Eighteen leaders representing 12 community organizations also had a chance to meet warriors in transition and have lunch with them at the Soldier and Family Assistance Center.
"Many community leaders have heard about the Warrior Transition Battalion, but they don't really understand our mission," WTB Commander Lt. Col. Andrew Grantham said. "This event provided an opportunity to bring these leaders onto post and into our battalion footprint and show them what the WTB is all about.
"It was a great chance for them to learn about what we do for wounded warriors and their Families, tour our facilities and meet some of our Soldiers and hear their Army stories. These leaders were able to ask questions and find out anything they wanted to know about the Army or the WTB."
Several guests said they were impressed with the medical facilities and the technologies being used to assist the warriors in transition.
"The tour of the medical facilities impressed me most," said Bill Miller, president of Lake Ice USA. "The Soldiers can receive high-level therapy for cranial damage, structured speech therapy and physical therapy with state-of-the-art fitness equipment and techniques."
For some, hearing the Soldiers' stories was more enjoyable than handling any weapon or participating in a simulation.
"I enjoy hearing their stories because every one of them is interesting," Bruce Gillooly, vice president of the Mountain Region for Security Services Federal Credit Union, said. "From the young lady who was injured road marching to the guy who lost his leg to direct fire, all of these young heroes was giving his or her all for our country."
"There were stories behind each Soldier: from the young man demonstrating his weapon, knowing that his life depended on it, to the Soldier describing the tactics used to protect his partner in a combat vehicle rollover," said Diane Plassmeyer, marketing and business development director for the Colorado Professional Golfers Association.
According to 1st Lt. Christopher Vasquez, the WTB Company B executive officer, the event allowed the battalion and its Soldiers to develop relationships within the Colorado Springs community and provided the opportunity for Soldiers to talk to these leaders.
"These relationships will give the community a different perspective of the WTB and our Soldiers who will enter the civilian workforce," he said. "Allowing Soldiers to meet these leaders continues to inspire confidence in the Soldiers and supports them in their transition from one career to another."
Likewise, the community leaders were pleased to learn more about the Warrior Transition Battalion and its mission.
"I would describe the Warrior Transition Battalion facilities as
a temple of honor," Gillooly said.
"The men and women who fought and gave so much of their being for our country should be honored and treated with the utmost respect. It is clear to me that, that staff ... understands this and gives so much of themselves to honor our wounded heroes."