A Mother’s Perspective: The 2010 AW2 Symposium

By Luana Schneider, AW2 Mother

Luana Scheider (right) witnessed her son Scott Stephenson (left) publicly advocate for burn victims at the 2010 AW2 Symposium

When my son Sgt Scott Stephenson (Ret) and I decided to attend the AW2 2010 Symposium, we were unsure of what to expect. It was a poignant experience. We met so many wonderful people that we hope to have lasting relationships with and now feel a little less alone.

By hearing stories from others and how they deal with the issues that face so many of our wounded Soldiers, we felt we gave and received huge amounts of very useful information. We were also a part of initiating changes that will affect all of our wounded, whether they were in attendance or not.

By hearing all of the issues, not just ours, we were able to better understand what others are facing in their own communities. And the staff and volunteers were so helpful and informative. We could not have asked for a better experience.

My son was also one of the media spokespersons at the AW2 Symposium and was asked to give a live interview at 7:40 in the morning. Now for anyone who knows Scott, that is no time to be getting up. But he really wanted to help support AW2 and be an advocate for all wounded military. We sincerely enjoyed the AW2 Stratcom representatives; they were there prepping us on the proper ways to speak to the media. They were also very interested in Scott’s issues on being a burn patient. Scott equated being a burn patient to “being wrapped in saran wrap–your skin cannot breathe or sweat and you lose the ability to feel the breeze or the light touch of another living being.” This was an analogy that the media seemed to understand well.

It seems when we are outside of the Army, we lose touch with that military camaraderie. Having that for a week was an excellent mental boost for Scott. He returned happier and better equipped for dealing with his issues as well as wanting to be more on the front lines of our own non-profit organization. He blossomed at the symposium. And as a mother, I could not be prouder of him.

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