CARE Event spotlight: Bradley Ouellette

  • Published
  • By Alexx Pons
  • Air Force Wounded Warrior Program
The Air Force Wounded Warrior (AFW2) Program is currently hosting a Warrior CARE Event at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, where more than 120 wounded, ill or injured service members from across the nation are participating in introductory restorative care events focusing on caregiver support, familiarization with adaptive sports and ambassador workshops, exposure to mentorship and resiliency programming, and targeted transition assistance.


Among those service members are beneficiaries of the Army Warrior Transition Battalion (WTB) and Navy Wounded Warrior Safe Harbor.


For Army Sgt. 1st Class Bradley Ouellette, Alpha Company WTB, this marks a first-time experience attending a joint warrior event, and an overall successful one from his perspective.


“The Air Force is running a very well-organized and impactful event here,” he said. “It has been great to come out and experience this type of care event in a joint environment, and see how it is impacting various types of recovery in a way that is beneficial to warriors across the services.”


Ouellette is a long-time sufferer of post-traumatic stress disorder and spent years avoiding his invisible wounds; compounding them with negative coping techniques. The Soldier serves as a career counselor for the Army, and still works daily to battle inner demons.


“I hit a point several years ago where I was exhausted; I was tired of running from and hiding wounds people could not necessarily see,” he said. “The Army, like any service, demands high performance of its troops and it was easier to mask what I was dealing with than face it head on.”


For Ouellette, there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel, as he is projected to be returned to duty. And while that is a victory in itself, his battle with PTSD will continue on with him.


“This has been an amazing experience… I have met so many fellow wounded warriors who are broadening my support network; there is strength in knowing my military family is bigger now,” he said. “Our wounds connect us in a unique way, even the invisible ones.


“I am walking away from this CARE event having built up more positive outlets and coping methods; to anyone who is hesitant or has reservations about getting involved with programs like this if you even think you might need them… just go for it,” he continued. “Step beyond yourself and do something you think you cannot do because you absolutely can. Go for the win – there is support out here from every service, and so many people who genuinely care about you.”


For more information about the AFW2 program, visit their official website. Additionally, be sure to like their Facebook page for program updates, upcoming events and the latest news.


Editor’s note: The next CARE event (following JBLM) will be held at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, this November.