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Telling It All

  • Published
  • By Shannon Hall
  • Air Force Wounded Warrior Program

Take a moment to think about your favorite outfit, the computer or phone you are using, your favorite restaurant or coffee shop and some of the décor in your house. For most things we adore and surround our lives with, we heard about it from someone else. This could have been on television, an advertisement on social media or word of mouth from a friend. When you hear someone talk about something they like so much, you have a tendency to look into it and see what it is all about. That is the benefit of having the Air Force Wounded Warrior (AFW2) Outreach and Ambassador Program.

The Outreach and Ambassador Program was implemented in 2016 when a staff member, who was also a Wounded Warrior in the program, saw the need to spread awareness about AFW2 and all they do for Airmen and now Guardians. What better way to do that than hearing from those who have been directly benefited and affected by the program?

“The Outreach and Ambassador Program exists to close the gap of awareness among the Air Force and Space Force personnel,” said Melissa Wiest, Outreach and Ambassador Program manager. “It serves as a marketing tool to educate Airmen and Guardians on the resources needed to help Warriors adjust to their new normal.”

One of the best ways to spread awareness of the AFW2 program is by word of mouth from those who live it every day. For this reason, the Outreach and Ambassador Program is in charge of setting up briefings at all Air and Space Force installations across the world. This is the best way to bring the reality of the trauma the Warriors have faced and the strength they have to continue to those who don’t walk in their shoes, or understand their struggles.

“Providing an AFW2 program overview coupled with an Ambassador’s testimony of tragedy, recovery and resiliency to audiences makes a strong, positive impact within the Air Force culture and spreads awareness of the AFW2 program and all of the services provided,” Melissa said. 

AFW2 staff members can brag and promote the good the program does all day, but it can be hard to understand the full impact of the services provided without hearing from a Warrior about their Recovery Care Coordinator fixing their pay, or the Community Program team getting them connected to other Warriors in their community. These stories highlight areas where AFW2 helped strength their resume to help them get their dream job after working with the Empowerment in Transition team or being able to feel the wind in their hair after they joined Adaptive Sports and can get back on the track.

“Our Ambassadors are important because they are able to put a face and story to recovery, and show that difficulties in life can be overcome,” said Col. Richard Obert, Director AFW2. “Hearing these stories should be a top priority for all of our Airmen and Guardians.”

With the ever-changing COVID environment, the Outreach and Ambassador team can travel to some locations and they also conduct briefings virtually. To get on their schedule send a request to their email at AFPC.DPFW.AmbassadorWorkflow@us.af.mil.

To learn more about the Outreach and Ambassador Program, along with all the other services AFW2 offers, or to refer an Airman or Guardian, visit our website at www.woundedwarrior.af.mil.

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