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Resiliency as part of the healing process

Tuning in for healing.

Caleb Jones tunes a guitar before taking part in the music session with Rock to Recovery. The music workshop is part of a holistic healing approach meant to be part of a restorative care approach for long-term success in recovery and resiliency. The Air Force Wounded Warrior Program (AFW2) is celebrating Warrior Care Month during the 2018 NE Central Warrior CARE Event at Joint Base Andrews, MD, and the National Harbor. The annual recognition showcases the military services programs for caring for wounded,ill, and injured service men and women and their families. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Shawn Sprayberry).

Rock on.

Sonny Mayo, former guitarist for Sevendust, Snot and Amen, helps Caleb Jones get ready to participate in the Rock to Recovery music workshop. The workshop highlights the effectiveness of music as part of a holistic approach to restorative care for long-term success in recovery and resiliency.The Air Force Wounded Warrior Program (AFW2) is celebcrating Warrior Care Month during the 2018 NE Central Warrior CARE Event at Joint Base Andrews, MD, and the National Harbor. The annual recognition showcases the military services programs for caring for wounded,ill, and injured service men and women and their families. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Shawn Sprayberry).

Music as healing.

Wes Geer, former touring guitarist for the rock band Korn, teaches a class of wounded warriors as part of his Rock to Recovery music workshop. The workshop highlights the effectiveness of music as part of a holistic approach to restorative care for long-term success in recovery and resiliency. The Air Force Wounded Warrior Program (AFW2) is celebcrating Warrior Care Month during the 2018 NE Central Warrior CARE Event at Joint Base Andrews, MD, and the National Harbor. The annual recognition showcases the military services programs for caring for wounded,ill, and injured service men and women and their families. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Shawn Sprayberry).

Twelve hugs a day.

Technical Sgt. Roann Leatz lets the AFW2 staff know how she feels about attending events with us. The hug is part of a therapeutic alliance we have with our wounded warriors that releases oxtocin, a biological chemical that elevates mood and helps in the recovery process. The program lives by the idea that 12 hugs a day leads to a more successful recovery. The Air Force Wounded Warrior Program (AFW2) is celebrating Warrior Care Month during the 2018 NE Central Warrior CARE Event at Joint Base Andrews, MD, and the National Harbor. The annual recognition showcases the military services programs for caring for wounded,ill, and injured service men and women and their families. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Shawn Sprayberry).

Improv to Improve

AFW2 Caregiver Domonique Oneal-Greene is participating in an "Improve to Improve" class. Wounded warriors and their caregivers learn how improvisational comedy skills can help them cope with daily struggles. It gives them a new tool to add to their toolbox for recovery and is part of the restorative care model AFW2 has adopted. The Improv to Improve classes are part of the NE Warrior CARE Event and is part of the overall recognition of the Department of Defense Warrior Care Month. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Jay Martinez).

Pay attention to me.

"Hey, pay attention to me," this service dog says. Service dogs are part of the holistic care many wounded warriors have as part of their recovery. The Air Force Wounded Warrior Program (AFW2) loves having the four-legged friends of our warriors around as they keep everyone grounded, even if they are not their dog. AFW2 is celebrating Warrior Care Month during the 2018 NE Central Warrior CARE Event at Joint Base Andrews, MD, and the National Harbor. The annual recognition showcases the military services programs for caring for wounded,ill, and injured service men and women and their families. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Shawn Sprayberry).

OXON HILL, Md. -- The Air Force Wounded Warrior Program (AFW2) kicked off its Northeast Region Warrior CARE Event at the National Harbor, starting the week with a day of resiliency programs featuring music, yoga, journaling and improvisational comedy workshops.

“In the past we would start our events with a traditional opening ceremony with the host base in attendance,” said Col Flatten, AFW2 director. “The first day would begin really early and would be stressful for everyone involved. We found we can ease into the week better by starting off with our resiliency programs first.”

This is the second Warrior CARE Event AFW2 has put on in this way and it has shown to be effective in making the week go smoothly, providing a little bit of respite for warriors weary from travel.

“While we want to get to work, it really strains those wounded warriors who may have medical issues that are compounded by travel,” said Marsha Gonzales, AFW2 support branch chief. “We looked at ways of making things smoother and found that spreading out our resiliency programs throughout the day reduced warriors’ stress.”

“In the past our resiliency programs were held at night,” said Dr. Aaron Moffett, AFW2 recovery services program manager. “Attendance was always good, but we never really reached 100% of the wounded warriors attending our events. This way we can show everyone how effective these programs can be in hopes they may take these new skills and apply them at home.”

There are over 100 wounded warriors and caregivers broken up into four groups at this event. Each group will rotate through each resiliency program, getting a chance to experience each workshop. The idea is to give them access to new tools they can use towards along the path of restorative care, adding to the long-term success of their overall recovery and resiliency.

“I like how they did this, easing into it,” said Staff Sgt. Jared Perrin, parachute rigger with the 733rd Logistic Readiness Squadron at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. “My favorite part so far has been Rock to Recovery. It was first thing in the morning for me and it felt good to make some noise to wake up.”

Rock to Recovery is led by Wes Geer, former touring guitarist of Korn, and Sonny Mayo, former guitarist for Sevendust. The workshop shows how music is a part of all of us whether you are a “shower singer” or full-blown musician. Warriors also learned about improvisational comedy during Improv to Improve, taught by retired Staff Sgt. BJ Lange, a fellow wounded warrior and stand-up comedian. He showed them how improv can calm the mind as they work through skits that keep them on their toes. There are also courses on yoga and functional strength training as well as a course on the benefits of journaling.

AFW2 will carry this new process forward into the new year, when they head Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, in January.

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