NEWS + ADVICE
Wounded Warrior Mentor Program
May is National Military Appreciation Month. Each week this month we bring you articles that honor our nation’s vets. Our second post is by Chrissa Dockendorf a Mentor/Intake Interviewer/Soldier Recruiter with the Wounded Warrior Mentor Program.
Seeking a way to support Wounded Soldiers on more of an individual basis and providing attention that the Army couldn’t, The West Point Class of 1958 had an idea that has since grown into this great organization – The Wounded Warrior Mentor Program. While Military Facilities has excelled in treatment and saving lives, they simply do not have the resources to support a soldier one-on-one as they make life decisions on the road to recovery.
In 2004, the West Point Class of 1958 recognized this lack of resources and sought to help. There are hundreds of wounded outpatients in our medical facilities but only about 20% of them will choose to stay in the military. The others need support starting a new job, understanding their benefits, education opportunities, finances, and really a helping hand to be there as they cross over to civilian life.
The Wounded Warrior Mentor Program is made up of volunteers that focus on helping soldiers transition. The volunteers can be anything from a Mentor, an Intake Interviewer, or a Solider/Mentor Recruiter. These roles help keep the program organized so we can provide the very best information to the soldiers. Most mentors, but not all, are combat veterans. They come from West Point classes, Naval and Air Force Academies, and other organizations that have volunteered to help.
But you don’t have to be a member or former member of the military to help out. Some volunteers just have the desire to help a soldier. Having a unique skill set that could provide a soldier insight and ease transition is always desired. Are you a military spouse? Does your work including hiring veterans? Have you worked with soldiers in another capacity? Then you can help.
Perhaps the most necessary role is the actual Mentor. Mentors work with individual soldiers to transition, find employment, exercise continuing education, and anything else the soldier may require. These Mentors can work with one or more soldiers as they go down their path to civilian life and can even be a follow on Mentor once the soldier has transitioned.
Yes, we do cater to soldiers that are wounded in combat, they could be suffering from PTSD, TBI, or even be an amputee. We feel that these soldiers need that extra bit of support to walk that path into civilian life. With our large network of resources and the support of the hospital commanders and staff and the Wounded Warrior Transition brigade commander as well as his entire chain of command, are able to successfully transition our warriors back into civilian life.