Local Resources for Soldiers and Veterans

By LuAnn Georgia, WTC Stratcom
We are pleased to announce six new members in the Community Support Network. These organizations offer local resources and connections to help better the lives of wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers, Veterans, their Families, and Caregivers.  Click on the links below to learn more about them and the types of products and services they provide.

1.  Paws 4 Independence

Website:  www.paws4independence.com

Type of Organization:  Service Dog Organizations

Description: Paws 4 Independence is a non-profit organization that specializes in training and providing service dogs to Veterans, adults, and children with disabilities, adults and children with diabetes, psychiatric issues, and seizure disorders.

2.  Brain Injury Alliance of Connecticut

Website:  www.biact.org 

Type of Organization:  Resource Databases

Description:  The Brain Injury Association of Connecticut (BIAC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing support and information to survivors of brain injury, their Families and the community. Programs and services include a toll free helpline that directs callers to resources and providers and support groups throughout Connecticut for survivors of brain injuries and outreach and education for Families, Caregivers, and Veteran’s Families, on a variety of topics related to living with a brain injury.

3.  Rainier Therapeutic Riding

Website:  www.rtriding.org

Type of Organization:  Other:  Therapeutic Horsemanship

Description: Rainier Therapeutic Riding provides horsemanship services to wounded active-duty and Veteran servicemembers and their Families.  Rainier Therapeutic Riding helps heroes struggling to cope with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), combat injuries, mental health challenges, and other visible and invisible wounds of war.

4.  Johnny’s New Hope, Inc.

Website:  www.johnnysnewhope.org

Type of Organization: Assistance with Federal Benefits; Care Packages, Letters and Messages, and Moral Support; Housing Assistance; Physical Rehabilitative Support; Retirement and Transition; Services for Families, Children, and Caregivers

Description: Johnny’s New Hope is a Veteran owned organization whose primary mission is to provide housing for military Veterans and their Families.  Cabins are available for emergency housing to get heroes back on their feet.  Johnny’s New Hope also provides food, clothing, and home renovations.

5.  Therapy Achievements

Website:  www.reachTA.com

Type of Organization:  Physical Rehabilitative Support

Description:  Therapy Achievements provides out-patient occupational, physical and speech therapy services for people with neurological, orthopedic, or pain conditions.  There are programs which address balance and movement, speech and swallowing, swelling from edema and lymphedema, driving rehabilitation and adaptive technology and seating. Services are provided by therapists with advanced training.  Therapy Achievements is dedicated to helping people re-gain access to their community and to maximize their independence.

6.  VetsYoga  (aka  Yatra Yoga International)

Website:  www.vetsyoga.com

Type of Organization:  Support Roster; Mental Wellness and Counseling; Physical Rehabilitative Support; Retirement and Transition; Services for Families, Children, and Caregivers

Description:   VetsYoga offers an alternative approach to coping with combat stress and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) through an instructional DVD that includes easy variations which can be practiced in the privacy of home. The material and training focuses on strength, flexibility, and relaxation. The DVD is available for purchase online at a 50% discount available to Veterans with the coupon code.

To learn more about the Warrior Transition Command Community Support Network and to view a complete list of member organizations, visit http://www.wtc.army.mil/community/.

WTC and AW2 Provides Entrepreneurship Training

By Emily Anderson, WTC Stratcom
Starting a business can seem like a difficult process, but wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers and Veterans can take comfort in the fact there are many resources available to help assist in the entrepreneurship process.

“There are a lot of businesses and resources out there to teach our population how to own and run a successful business,” said Vicki Mullen, AW2 Labor Liaison Specialist.

Mullen and Cory Hixson, Action Officer, the Warrior Transition Command (WTC) Commander’s Action Group, will conduct a two-hour, call-in training session on January 17, 2013 for AW2 Soldiers, Veterans, Family members, and Army Wounded Warrior Program (AW2) Advocates.

The first class is being offered to individuals in the southern region, and additional training sessions will be offered regionally.

“We decided to provide the training by regions to ensure we are reaching as many people as possible,” Mullen said. “We want to make sure everyone has the opportunity to listen to some of the tools available for starting their own business.”

Originally this type of training was taught to the WTU transition coordinators, but Hixson saw there was a need for this information to be provided in a larger scale directly to the WTU and AW2 populations.

“There are so many resources at their fingertips, but they are not taking advantage of them because many do not know to ask the questions,” said Hixson, who attended an entrepreneurship boot camp and completed extensive research on self employment and starting your own business.

“We know the need is out there,” Hixson said. “There is such an opportunity for our wounded, ill, and injured to not have to work a nine-to-five job, but to own a business. They can do what they like to do and not depend on sitting behind a desk.”

During the training session, Hixson will speak about the different centers and programs within the Small Business Administration, where to find information on the  National Resource Directory, explain what the  Veteran Franchise Centers is, as well as provide information about additional programs such as Operation Jump Start, Operation Boots to Business, and several other resources.

He will also give listeners a chance to ask questions about a variety of small business topics.

“I want to help by pointing out small business training and resources, but also answer any questions that have already popped up,” Hixson said.

“Many do not realize there are resources to start a business specifically for those who are female, disabled, a Guard orReserve Soldier, a Family member, a Caregiver, and so much more,” he added.

For more information, contact the WTC at (703)325-8999 or email www.usarmy.pentagon.medcom-WTC.mbx.career-education-readiness-br@mail.mil or usarmy.pentagon.medcom-WTC.mbx.AW2-career-program@mail.mil.

Road to Warrior Games Update

MSG Ron Prothero, who is stationed at Warrior Transition Unit, Fort Sam Houston, Texas, practices swimming laps during the 2013 Team Army Warrior Games cycling and swimming selection clinic. The selection clinic was conducted January 07-12 at Fort Bliss, Texas. (Photo by Patrick Cubel)

By Emily Anderson, WTC Stratcom
As the Warrior Games steadily approaches, more than 180 wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers and Veterans from across the U.S. and Germany are training at various training and selection clinics in hopes to be selected as an athlete for the Army’s team.

“We looked good last year and had quite a few successful athletes in many of the sporting events, but how we looked last year versus how we look now is completely different,” said MSG Jarrett Jongema, Adaptive Reconditioning Branch Noncommissioned Officer in Charge. “Different in that we have tried to build a more balanced, yet competitive team across all of the sporting events.”

During the 2013 Warrior Games, slated for May 11-17 in Colorado Springs, Colorado, athletes will compete in sitting volleyball, wheelchair basketball, swimming, cycling, track and field, archery, and competitive shooting with hopes of being awarded a gold, silver, or bronze medal.

“It’s great to see a Soldier or Veteran who has never tried one of these sports to come to the clinics, learn about it, go back home and practice, then come back determined to do better than their last try-out,” Jongema said. “They come back to each clinic with a higher caliber of motivation as well as improved results with their various scores, times, or distances.”

The training clinics are preparing the Soldiers and Veterans not only to compete for the Army during Warrior Games, but give them a chance to explore different reconditioning activities that they have not tried before.

“These clinics are more than just about making the team,” Jongema said. “We are trying to teach our Soldiers and Veterans about the different types of adaptive reconditioning activities because they could help in the recovery process.”

“The part that separates these clinics from other Adaptive Sports and Reconditioning events is that they are competitive in nature first, with the therapeutic and recreational aspects coming in second and third,” he added. “This changes the vibe in the air a little knowing that the people sitting in the room with you are competing for the same spot on team Army as you.”

The final round of training and selection clinics will take place the last week of February through the third week in March, and team selection announcement is tentatively planned for the first of April.

While everyone who tries for the team will not be selected – there is a 50 team member limit for each service during the Warrior Games – athletes are receiving specialized one-on-one training from experienced coaches, many who are U.S. Paralympics competitors or medal winners.

“Not only do we have top-notch competitors, but the coaches’ reputations speak for themselves,” Jongema added. “We are determined to select and compete with only those who put forth the efforts and really give it their all.”

For more information about Warrior Games visit the U.S. Army Warrior Transition Command Road to Warrior Games page or the U.S. Paralympics website.

Keep checking back for more updates as the road to Warrior Games continues.

WTC Community Support Network New Organization Summary

By LuAnn Georgia, WTC Stratcom
There are five new members in the Community Support Network. These organizations offer local resources and connections to help better the lives of wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers, Veterans, their Families, and Caregivers.  Click on the links below to learn more about them and the types of products and services they provide.

  • PRIDE Industries

Website:  www.prideindustries.com

Type of Organization:  Career Training, Education, Human Resources Support, and Employment Opportunities

Description: PRIDE Industries is a nonprofit organization and leading employer of people with disabilities. By partnering with businesses and government agencies, PRIDE creates meaningful jobs for the disabled work force, while providing first-rate manufacturing and service solutions for companies and organizations nationwide.

  • Brain Injury Association of Washington

Website: www.braininjurywa.org 

Type of Organization: Assistance with Federal Benefits, Resource Databases, Services for Families, Children, and Caregivers, and Connecting Individuals to Community Resources

Description: The Brain Injury Association of Washington (BIAWA) is a non-profit organization founded in 1982 and was created as a system of support for those affected by brain injury.  The organization’s mission is to increase public awareness, support, and hope for those affected by brain injury through education, assistance, and advocacy.

  • United Oil Packers

Website:  http://www.unitedoilcompany.com

Type of Organization:  Career Training, Education, Human Resources Support, and Employment

Description: United Oil Packers, founded more than 50 years ago, is a leader in the edible oils and fats industry. The proven philosophies of the organization include honest, hard work, consistent reliability, and products that offer quality and value. United Oil Packers strives to help wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers and Veterans by providing employment opportunities.

  • Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet

Website:  www.guardianangelsforsoldierspet.org

Type of Organization: Family Pets

Description: Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet is a 501c3 non-profit service available in all 50 states and is available to all armed force branches.  Comprised of an all volunteer staff, the mission of the organization is to foster pets in safe homes with caring individuals; and to support reuniting pets with owners following deployment related to a combat, peace-keeping, or humanitarian mission, or an unforeseen medical and/or homeless hardship situation. There is no cost for the service, but the pet’s owner is asked to cover any pet related expenses.

  • Unitek College

Website:  www.unitekcollege.edu

Type of Organization:  Career Training, Education, Human Resources Support, and Employment

Description: Unitek College is an accredited healthcare and business training school with the main campus located in Fremont, CA.  Among the many courses offered, there are several Veterans Affairs approved healthcare training programs including Vocational Nursing, Registered Nursing, and Bachelors of Science in Nursing.  Online courses are available.  Unitek College was named by Victory Media to the 4th annual 2013 Military Friendly Schools R list.

About the Community Support Network

The Community Support Network was created based on requests from severely wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers, Veterans, their Families and Caregivers.  Soldiers stated that connection with local communities and community leaders are essential for their success and reintegration.  For additional information, visit the Community Support Network webpage.

Do you know of an organization that wants to assist wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers, Veterans, their Families, and Caregivers?  We are happy to provide membership information to these organizations based on your requests and referrals. Please email contact information to the Community Support Network at: usarmy.pentagon.medcomwtc.mbx.aw2communitysupportnetwork@mail.mil.

Soldiers Rebuild Futures through Career Transformation

Operation Warfighter candidate SSG Kimberly Webster (left) works with a colleague to provide customer service in the Defense Military Pay Office (DMPO) at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

By Alli Kartachak, WTC Stratcom
SSG Kimberly Webster recovered at the Brooke Army Medical Center Warrior Transition Battalion (BAMC-WTB) after suffering nerve damage to her right knee, leg, and foot from an injury while deployed in Iraq. After her injury, she recalls facing “the challenge of finding something completely new” after working in Army aviation for 23 years. It wasn’t until she learned of Operation Warfighter (OWF) that she became optimistic about her professional future.

As a federal internship program designed to place servicemembers in supportive work settings outside of the hospital environment, OWF seeks to positively impact this population while they seek to join the civilian workforce. The program encourages several strategies for success including resume building, exploring employment interests, developing job skills, and gaining valuable federal government work experience in order to increase employment readiness during their recovery.

Due to the support she received through OWF and WTB Transition Coordinator Zach Gant, SSG Webster is now completing an internship with the Defense Finance and Accounting Services (DFAS).

“OWF helped me rehabilitate. It was good to get back to working with a team and into a daily routine,” she said. “After six months, I know what to expect every day. I know there’s a workplace where I belong.”

Transition Coordinators like Gant support recovering Soldiers at 29 WTUs and nine Community-Based WTUs (CBWTUs) nationwide. They work with OWF to help employers at federal agencies and private sector organizations connect with wounded, ill, and injured servicemembers from all services who anticipate transitioning out of the military soon.  In the Army, each Soldier recovering in a WTU develops career goals through their personalized Comprehensive Transition Plan (CTP).

“The Soldiers with a plan, and who are working toward it, are the ones who are successful after they leave the WTU,” said Gant.

SSG Claudia Mendez, another Soldier healing at Joint Base Lewis-McChord Warrior Transition Battalion (JBLM-WTB), encourages Soldiers to take a chance.  With a background in the military medical field, she has now learned that she “loves customer service and being around people,” after working in the installation’s Defense Military Pay Office through OWF.

“You can’t limit yourself to what you’ve always known,” she said.  “So many doors can open in your favor.”

For more information about employment opportunities for wounded, ill, or injured Soldiers, visit the Army Warrior Transition Command (WTC) website at www.WTC.army.mil.

 

No Cost, On-Line Training at Syracuse University for Post 9-11 Veterans and Soldiers

1LT Bryan Upham, Fort Belvoir Warrior Transition Unit, prepares for his professional future.

By Luann Georgia, WTC Stratcom
The School of Information Studies at Syracuse University, a member of the Community Support Network*, is offering a “Veterans Technology Program” to post-9/11 Veterans and Soldiers with a minimum of a high school diploma.  The program is a non-credit, certificate program that is offered at no cost.  There are four certificate programs to select from.  Each course is delivered online, which enables students to participate from any location and at a time that is convenient to their schedule.

The program is designed to help post-9/11 Soldiers and Veterans create development plans which are specific to individual skill sets, interests, and goals, as well as gain understanding of and insight into the corporate culture of global companies. Program participants learn to effectively prepare for and execute job searches, as well as resume and cover letter writing. The technical aspects of the Veterans Technology Program allow participants to focus on a specific concentration of their choice and, where applicable, acquire industry certification.

For additional information about the program and instructions on how to apply, log onto: http://get-vet.syr.edu

*Community Support Network has a variety of providers on the WTC and AW2 website that are available to assist in the career transition process. These supporters are actively engaged in helping the wounded, ill and injured Soldiers, Veterans and Family members.  They offer opportunities on training, education, apprenticeships, certification and more.

 

Jon Zagami Proves Disabled Veterans Add Value in the Workplace

Jon Zagami, who lives with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and a traumatic brain injury (TBI), demonstrates his leadership abilities and unique skill set in the workplace as a disabled Veteran.

By Alli Kartachak, WTC Stratcom
Jon Zagami’s story is one that serves as a model for employers. As a Veteran living with physical injuries, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and a traumatic brain injury (TBI), he can recall a time when he laid in a hospital bed and wondered if he would ever walk again.

Today, Zagami is a leader on his team at Caterpillar Financial, working on the company’s most difficult portfolio. He motivates his peers, demonstrates hard work, and gets results. But in looking back to a time when he was searching for a job, Zagami says he worried about how to convey to employers that he could add value to the workplace despite his injuries.

“One of the biggest questions in my mind was, how am I going to explain to people that I left the Army because of injuries?” he said. “And you know, looking at it from an employer’s perspective, I understand that it sounds scary, and a lot of questions arise.”

Although he lives with PTSD, TBI, and physical injuries, Zagami felt that he should give no reason for his employer to feel that he was different from others, so he turned down accommodation offers and opted to not use crutches at work.

“I don’t want any reason to prove to other people that I’m different,” he said.  “I just want to come in here, and I want a chance to excel.”

And he does. David Michael, Zagami’s supervisor, says that Zagami comes to work every day and performs at an exceptionally high level, acting as a model employee to his fellow colleagues.

“People look to Jon for direction, and he has a way of motivating those around him toward accomplishing difficult tasks,” he said. “A lot of our customers are having challenging or difficult financial times, and he’s able to calmly work with them and make them feel good about the solutions we are offering.”

Zagami says that his ability to work on the most stressful projects while keeping calm and focused is due to his perspective on life.

“I’m lucky that I have an opportunity to work with the most difficult portfolio that we have. I enjoy it every single day,” he said. “While it stresses some people out, I can keep a smile on my face and say this is not that bad, because I know how bad it really can be.”

Zagami demonstrates leadership and motivation in the workplace, and his actions are telling of his appreciation for his job. He thinks that employers should take the opportunity to hire Veterans for their unique skill set and experience.

“If I had the ability to hire someone who had worn the uniform over a peer with the same education level, or the same experience, it’s a no-brainer to me.  I know that this person’s been tried.”

AW2 Soldier Credits Comprehensive Transition Plan for Helping Him Through His Recovery Process

By Emily Anderson, WTC Stratcom

AW2 Soldier and Operation Warfighter Intern 1LT Dana Summons recently joined the WTC adaptive reconditioning branch. He will help other wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers add physical activities in their journey to recovery.

Recently I had the pleasure of speaking with AW2 Soldier and Operation Warfighter Intern 1LT Dana Summons who recently started working at the Warrior Transition Command in the adaptive reconditioning branch. He has 18 years of military service and takes full advantage of the different opportunities made available. I’m inspired by his positivity and courage. Most of all, I wanted to know why Summons feels it is important to share his story.

“The Army has given and invested so much in training me,” Summons said. “I currently have a bachelor’s degree in arts and history and am also working to complete an associate’s degree in project management.”

During our conversation, he credited the six domains of the Comprehensive Transition Plan  in helping with his journey to recovery. The Comprehensive Transition Plan is a systematic framework that allows wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers to customize their recovery plan across six domains—career, physical, emotional, social, family and spiritual.

“I can clearly see how important the six domains are in my life,” Summons said. “For example, working at my internship has been therapeutic for me. It has helped with my physical domain because I have to get back and forth on the metro, but also the social [domain], because I’m interacting with individuals again.”

On October 4, 2010, while deployed to Kandahar with the 101st Airborne, 3rd Brigade, Summons stepped on a dismounted, pressure-plated Improvised Explosive Device. The blast threw him 10 feet into the air.

“Smoke was everywhere, my ears were ringing, and I heard someone yelling ‘the LT’s been hit, the LT’s been hit,’ Summons said. “I knew there was only one other LT there, and I saw her running around, checking on her Soldiers.”

“As the smoke cleared, I turned my head to look at my right shoulder, and that’s when I saw my foot there. My left leg was across my chest,” Summons added. “All I could think was, oh boy, his is really going to hurt.”

A 19-year-old medic told the squad leader to grasp the artery in Summons’s right arm where shrapnel had embedded into his shoulder.

“If the medic had not known to do this, I would have lost my arm,” Summons said. “I credit him with saving my arm, and my life.”

Two years and 14 surgeries later, Summons shares his positive message and his faith to help other wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers.

“When I was healing and going through my recovery process, my mental state was at the lowest point. I had to readjust, and I didn’t know how to transition to the new normal,” he said. “I have always believed in a spiritual being, but going through this really strengthened my faith.”

“I want others to know that life goes on, and it’s possible to fulfill hopes and dreams even with physical limitations,” Summons added. “Someone can always benefit from your story.”

Summons’ Operation Warfighter (OWF)  internship landed him in the Warrior Transition Command adaptive reconditioning branch. This office is responsible for aiding in the recovery of our wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers by reconditioning their physical, emotional, mental, and cognitive states through adaptive activities.

“It’s great to have Soldiers who have gone through similar life changes working at our organization,” said LTC Keith Williams, WTC adaptive reconditioning branch chief. “We can’t expect other organizations to hire our wounded, ill, and injured if we are not willing to do the same.”

“LT Summons is doing a fantastic job so far, and I look forward to the insight he can give us to better help our population,” Williams added.

While Summons is still waiting for a final decision to see if he is able to continue his military career, or is found unable to continue, he said he wants others going through similar situations to learn from his experience.

“I had to learn how to walk again, but I didn’t let that stop me. I mean, look at me now. It’s two years later and I’m living a very happy life,” Summons said.

Warrior Transition Command Soldier Recognized for Commitment to Wounded, Ill, and Injured Soldiers

MSG Howard Day receives the National Association of Uniformed Services (NAUS) Selfless Service Award during the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy graduation ceremony. SGM of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III, NAUS representative Mike Plumer, CSM Rory Malloy, USASMA Commandant, and CSM D.L. Yates, USASMA Course Director congratulated Day on his achievement.

By Emily Anderson, WTC Stratcom
MSG Howard Day, Warrior Transition Command (WTC) Soldier, was recently honored by the National Association of Uniformed Services (NAUS) with the Selfless Service Award. Day was recognized by the organization during his graduation ceremony from the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy (USASMA), Fort Bliss, Texas. He received the award for his volunteer service to wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers and Veterans during his 10-month resident’s course.

“Being recognized was a humbling and remarkable moment,” said Day, the Noncommissioned Officer (NCO) in charge for the U.S. Army WTC Standardization and Evaluation Branch. “I was honored to be recognized for the unique challenge of being a full-time student and still being able to help wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers.”

“Soldiers are constantly held to certain standards known as the Army values. These values are ingrained from the start of basic training throughout a military career, so to be recognized for something that happens naturally lets me know I set the example for younger Soldiers,” he said.

During Day’s attendance at the USASMA, he volunteered more than 160 hours to the WTC, organizing several Warrior Games shooting clinics and working as the 2012 Warrior Games Army’s shooting team coach.

“Taking care of each other and taking care of Family is an example of the values our Soldiers in the Army have,” said WTC CSM Mark A. Dennis. “I have served in several deployed theaters and our NCOs and Soldiers always go above and beyond to do their best to take care of people.”

“Our wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers need the support. Many have made sacrifices that others cannot imagine. Sacrifices that change their lives and their Families’ lives forever,” he added. “Even if assistance is not needed it is always nice for them to know that it is available, and that someone truly cares enough to be there for them.”

The NAUS Selfless Service Award is presented to a servicemember for his or her volunteer community service and leadership. Recipients serve their country by loyally doing their duty without thought of recognition or gain, and with the basic building block of selfless service being the commitment of each team member to go a little further, endure a little longer, and look a little closer to see how he or she can add to the effort.

“MSG Day has the spirit of volunteering, and the spirit of going above and beyond, but I will say that many in our organization do. There are no other organizations in the Army like our Warrior Transition Units,” said Dennis. “For example, the cadre volunteer to do the jobs they do. They are evaluated on the performance of their challenging positions, and they work very long and hard hours to take care of our wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers.”

“I believe that MSG Day being the recipient of the NAUS award while attending the Sergeants Major Academy demonstrates the true spirit of the commitment of our Enlisted Corps to never leave a fallen comrade,” said Dennis. “This sets a great example for others in taking his time from an already extremely busy schedule at the academy to assist others to make their life a little better, and to show that there are those out there that truly care.”

Day admitted he had challenges trying to coordinate all of the activities and ensure the athletes received the appropriate amount of training for them to successfully compete in the shooting events during the Warrior Games.

“We had many objectives to accomplish. There were a lot of moving parts, and I still had to meet the academy’s requirements,” he said.

“I worked a lot with U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit and the Fort Bliss Warrior Transition Battalion,” he added. “We also partnered with the UTEP (University of Texas El Paso) to host the clinics at a location near Fort Bliss, and coordinated with Comprehensive Soldier Fitness- Performance and Resilience Enhancement Program in order for the events to be a success.”

Day’s 27-year military career consists of being an infantryman and a drill sergeant. He has workedon various assignments including a stint with the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division and in protective services while deployed to Iraq in 2005-2006.

During Day’s 2009 Afghanistan deployment, he tore cartilage in his knee. After being evacuated, he was treated and transferred to the Fort Sill Warrior Transition Unit for seven months. While at the WTU, he worked on his recovery but remained vigilant in helping other wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers. His dedication led to contact with the WTC Operations Division Chief to work at the headquarters.

“It is my honor working with MSG Day here at the Warrior Transition Command,” said Dennis. “He sets the right example for the NCO Corps and for our junior enlisted in the Army to emulate. His hard work and dedication are appreciated by us all.”

“This was another true sign of his commitment to our Soldiers. Since his arrival back to the WTC he has been serving as the NCOIC for our Organizational Inspection Program team that goes out twice a month to different WTUs to ensure we are providing the best services to our Soldiers,” said Dennis. “He is the type of NCO that is 100 percent committed to all he does.”

Along with the NAUS award, Day received a three-year membership to NAUS and an invitation to the NAUS 44th Annual Meeting and Luncheon October 20, 2012 where retired GEN David Petraeus was the keynote speaker.

Community Support Network Organization Uses Tattoos to Boost Confidence

An employee with Global Tattoo Orthotic Prosthetic Innovations (GTOPI) adds finishing touches to the Purple Heart medal design on a prosthetic leg. GTOPI is a member of the U.S. Army Warrior Transition Command Community Support Network.

Editor’s Note: Global Tattoo Orthotic Prosthetic Innovations is a participant in the WTC Community Support Network, formerly known as the AW2 Community Support Network.

By: WTC Stratcom
Headquartered in Port Orchard, WA, Global Tattoo Orthotic Prosthetic Innovations (GTOPI) was founded in 2008 by Dan Horkey, who lost the lower half of his leg during a motorcycle accident when he was 21.

In 2004, the tattooed prosthetic idea started when Horkey began fabrication training at a company that makes prostheses and braces. Within a week of training, he had fabricated his own personal prosthetic socket, and applied his first tattoo. Two years later, he tattooed his prosthetic again but with artwork that reflected his personality. “I put flames on my socket and the compliments from strangers made my self-esteem go through the roof,” Horkey said. “I wear it with pride, and I wanted that for others, to feel whole again.”

GTOPI offers state of the art, patent-pending methods such as airbrushing, fine art hand-brushing, pin-striped designs, and painting with automotive colors for prosthetics. Some of the methods also include custom painted automotive finishes and then airbrushing or hand-painting the design of choice. GTOPI uses materials that are safe for children and adults, durable, and of professional quality.

If you are interested in a prosthetic tattoo, the wounded Soldier or Veteran can contact GTOPI at (360) 895-1976, and they will get your order started. Currently, the services are a covered service at 100% with a qualified consult prescription when written by a Veteran Affairs (VA) physician or a VA Psychiatrist. For more information, visit http://www.gtopi.com.

Do you know of an organization that wants to assist wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers, Veterans, and their Families? If so, please email the WTC Community Support Network at the email address below. We welcome your recommendations and referrals.

Send organization referrals to usarmy.pentagon.medcom-wtc.mbx.communitysupportnetwork@mail.mil

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