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Navy Wounded Warrior Program assists service members during critical times

25 March 2024

From Ninoshka Basantes and MC1 Maddelin Hamm

The Navy Wounded Warrior Program (NWW), previously known as Safe Harbor, stands as a beacon of support and care for active-duty Sailors, Reservists serving on active duty, and Coast Guardsmen wounded, ill, or injured in the line of duty or off duty.
The Navy Wounded Warrior Program (NWW), previously known as Safe Harbor, stands as a beacon of support and care for active-duty Sailors, Reservists serving on active duty, and Coast Guardsmen wounded, ill, or injured in the line of duty or off duty.

Established to provide personalized assistance and resources, NWW serves as a lifeline for service members and their families navigating the complexities of recovery and rehabilitation. From physical injuries to invisible wounds, NWW offers a comprehensive network of support tailored to meet the unique needs of each participant. 

“Many Sailors enroll in the program not sure about who we are or what we do, but at the end of their transition we become their bedrock for accurate and timely information and resources,” said Marc Puco, recovery care coordinator (RCC) with NWW.

Puco said every enrollee is unique and requires different resources and support.  RCC’s provide one-on-one concierge support and resources specific to their individual needs.

NWW is a non-medical care management team, which assigns a dedicated RCC to each participant. These RCCs serve as advocates and guides, assisting service members and their families in navigating the maze of medical appointments, paperwork, and rehabilitation programs that may come with injury. With a deep understanding of military culture and the challenges of recovery, RCCs offer personalized support tailored to the unique circumstances of each individual.   

“I was immediately impressed by the team,” said Retired Navy Chief Warrant Officer 3 Jonathan Weir. “Even during my intake interview, I found myself surrounded by capable, well-connected and passionate professionals who very clearly had my best interests in mind.” 

Weir said the medical evaluation board process he was going through was confusing, but NWW was able to help him navigate it. 

“My non-medical care manager continued to check in with me to offer assistance where needed,” Weir added. “On numerous occasions, and without solicitation, he would scan various online databases to give me updates on critical milestones. 

In addition to care coordination, NWW places a strong emphasis on adaptive sports as a means of physical and emotional rehabilitation for service members in the program. Through partnerships with organizations like the Paralympic Military Program and the Invictus Games, NWW provides opportunities for wounded warriors to engage in adaptive sports, ranging from wheelchair basketball to cycling. These activities not only promote physical fitness but also foster camaraderie and a sense of accomplishment, empowering participants to overcome adversity and reclaim their independence. 

Beyond its practical support services, NWW is a community of resilience and solidarity. Through peer-to-peer support groups, wounded warriors find camaraderie and understanding among fellow service members who have walked similar paths. This sense of belonging and connection is invaluable in the healing process providing a network of support that extends far beyond medical treatment.

“Navy Wounded Warrior provides the Navy and commands the support to treat Sailors in the Medical Evaluation Board or LIMDU [limited duty] process with the dignity and respect they earned and deserve. Sailors remember how they were treated their last months in the Navy,” said Puco. 

Currently NWW has provided assistance to more than 7,600 wounded, ill and injured service members located throughout the country. For commands, leaders and service members looking to get linked with the program and its resources, please reach out to NWW at 1-855-NAVY-WWP or visit the program website at www.navywoundedwarrior.com.
 

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