Story and photo by MC2 Charles Oki
Navy Region Hawaii Public Affairs
Sailors, civilians and caretakers celebrated the start of Warrior Care Month during the Navy Wounded Warrior 3rd annual Cake Cutting Ceremony at the Pearl Harbor Memorial Fountain on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Nov. 9.
This year's theme for Warrior Care Month is "Virtual Show of Strength,” due to the current worldwide COVID-19 pandemic which has brought untold challenges to the treatment and care of military wounded warriors. The “Virtual Show of Strength” provides the wounded warriors an outlet to show that not only are they continuing to make strides on their path to wellbeing but also that they are not alone in their struggles.
“The wounded warrior team has been invaluable,” said retired Damage Controlman 3rd Class Allie Costa, a retired Navy Wounded Warrior and one of the speakers during the event. “There were times that I wanted to stay home in my dark little hole but the wounded warrior team were able to pull me out of it and give me opportunities I never would have had without them. The Navy wounded warrior team does not forget about you and they are always there to ensure you are involved as much or as little as you would like to be and always there to support you whenever you need them.”
On Nov. 5, 2008, then Secretary of Defense Robert F. Gates established November as Warrior Care Month to initiate a “Department of Defense-wide effort aimed at increasing awareness of programs and resources available to wounded, ill, and injured service members, their families, and those who care about them.”
“The care of our wounded warriors is a priority 365 days a year, however this month allows us to focus on a program that does so much for our wounded warriors,” said Rear Adm. Robb Chadwick, commander, Navy Region Hawaii. “Taking care of our wounded warriors is a duty we all willingly accept, because every service member wounded or otherwise raised their right hand and took an oath to support and defend the constitution of the United States and for that they deserve our respect and gratitude. The wounded warrior program is one way that we show that respect and gratitude in providing them the tools to help them recover, to build their resilience, and providing those needed services. It truly is a case of heroes helping heroes.”