JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas --
The Air Force Wounded Warrior (AFW2) Ambassador Program has been on the road this year conducting outreach briefings at multiple bases, and they have a lot more traveling in their future. The briefings are conducted to inform the base populace about the AFW2 program, how it supports Airmen and how leaders can support their Airmen who have been injured, wounded or diagnosed with an illness.
This week, AFW2 staff and ambassadors traveled to Dyess Air Force Base, Texas. While there, they conducted over 30 briefings to include wing leadership, the Chiefs group, Airmen from the 317th Airlift Wing and 7th Security Forces Squadron and many more across the base.
“The Ambassador Roadshow is a great way for the AFW2 program to connect with Air Force audiences who may need a boost in resiliency coming out of COVID,” said Melissa Wiest, AFW2 Ambassador program manager. “Due to a series of suicides prior to COVID, Dyess leadership invited our team to bring examples of resilience to their personnel.”
More than 870 Airmen across Dyess were briefed on the support programs within AFW2 like Empowerment in Transition, Adaptive Sports, Recovering Airmen Mentorship and many others. They also got to hear personal testimonies from AFW2 ambassadors on their own trauma, how they overcame the tough times and how AFW2 assisted in their recovery journey.
“Telling my story gives meaning to why I went through something so tough and it gives me such joy knowing I may be helping our Airmen through my experience,” said Staff Sgt. Jessica Thelen, AFW2 Ambassador. “Knowing I’m potentially giving them a small spark of hope where there was none, inspiration to continue their fight or a newfound ability to reach out and help fellow Airmen who are struggling makes it worth it.”
Hearing a testimony helps Airmen better understand the impact that AFW2 has on the warriors that are enrolled in the program. There are many Airmen serving today that have never heard of the Air Force Wounded Warrior Program. When they attend a brief that talks about the program followed by living proof that their resources help, it tends to resonate with them a little more.
“I didn’t know about the program before today. I hope that I never go through something traumatic, but if I do I know where to turn to,” said Senior Airman Garrett Honeycutt, 7th Security Forces Squadron. We are always taught to just go to the chaplain or the First Shirt. Although they do their jobs effectively, this is another great resource I can share with my Wingmen.”
The AFW2 Ambassador Program will be traveling throughout the next couple of months to different bases to continue educating the Air Force population on the program, how it supports Airmen through their toughest times and allowing for ambassadors to share their testimonies. To see if your base is on the list, visit the AFW2 website at www.woundedwarrior.af.mil and check us out on social media.