JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas --
Fostering an environment of connectedness and finding ways to stay connected with each other, during this time of distancing, is something the Air Force Wounded Warrior (AFW2) Program works towards every day. Not only for our Warriors, but their Caregivers too.
AFW2 is a Department of Defense mandated program, responsible for taking care of the U.S. Air Force’s most wounded, ill and injured Airmen and Veterans. The best way that can be done, is by also taking the best care of our Warriors number one supporters, their Caregivers. That is why the Caregiver Support Program was implemented.
“My husband had been a part of the program for a few events, but he was struggling so he reached out for me to come along,” said Allison Pate, AFW2 Caregiver. “I was very quiet and felt so defeated at first, but then I was asked to speak up at one of the events. That day changed our entire future, and I am so grateful.”
One event the Caregiver program hosts is a, now virtual, monthly Townhall for those enrolled in the program to call in or watch through social media. This event takes place on the third Thursday of every month and allows for questions to be asked and answered directly, meet new Caregivers and offer any advice that they seek. The Caregiver team also uses this time to share any upcoming events or news about the program, like the Virtual CARE Week happening next month.
“The monthly Townhall allows for so much information to be shared. Some Caregivers ask questions that you never think of due to their different situations or where they are at in their process,” Allison said. “This makes it easy for those watching to take notes and be one step ahead later down the road.”
Some other ways the Caregiver program keeps their members connected is by having a group chat set up, all enrolled members are added to the Facebook page specifically dedicated to Caregivers, and those that are interested are paired with mentors. You can never be too connected.
“Life gets crazy and overwhelming. Reaching out to other caregivers who I have things in common with is an outlet,” Allison said. “Family members don’t always understand our situation or struggles, and it makes it hard to talk to them. This group, and the people you meet, all understand what you are going through. It’s nice to have that kind of support without any judgement.”
The Caregiver program is not just about going on events and finding new tools to help individuals cope with the situation at hand. This program creates supportive relationships with those who share stories, questions and emotions during the toughest times of their lives. It is about creating lasting connections that are forever united by invisible threads.
“This is a place to be a part of if you want support, friendship, and guidance. I was only 19 when my husband was diagnosed with cancer. I was lost and didn’t know what to do to help him. This program made sure my husband felt more like himself than he had in years, while I got guidance on how to take care of myself, strengthen our relationship, tools on how I can help others, and so much more. I could not be more thankful for this program,” Allison said.
The Caregiver Support Program identifies, connects and improves Caregiver resiliency by providing resources, workshops, resiliency tools and new skillsets to ensure caretakers reach their ultimate potential. These resources and tools can be found on the Caregiver Facebook page, where they host daily virtual socials.
Visit the AFW2 Facebook page to hear stories of resiliency and engage in activities hosted by Air Force Wounded Warriors, Caregivers and Staff. For additional information, visit www.woundedwarrior.af.mil to refer an Airman to the program, read about the program’s mission or learn about additional services offered to Caregivers and families.