“I am incredibly passionate about my Soldiers and their Families,” said AW2 Advocate Patti Walker, who has been with the program for eight years.
Advocate, U.S. Army Wounded Warrior Program (AW2)
Patti Walker had only been an Army wife for three years in 2004 when she got the call from Iraq. Her husband had been injured, sustaining severe shrapnel wounds that left him in a vegetative state. If he were to somehow make it, the then stay-at-home mom vowed to dedicate the rest of her life to helping severely wounded, ill or injured Soldiers and their Families. After recovering at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland, the Walkers moved back to their home in Kansas, and Patti made good on her promise.
Walker joined the U.S. Army Wounded Warrior Program (AW2) in 2006 as an AW2 Advocate serving the Warrior Transition Brigade (WTB) at Fort Riley. As an AW2 Advocate, Walker works with the recovering Soldier, the Family and the entire support system as an integrated part of the Comprehensive Transition Plan (CTP). Depending on the individual’s CTP, Walker provides much needed information on topics varying from career and education options or Continuing on Active Duty (COAD) to help the Soldier meet his or her goals.
“I am incredibly passionate about my Soldiers and their Families because I know how hard it is to live this life,” said Walker. “If you have someone who is a bright shining star for you, you know that you are not alone. And that is the most comforting feeling in the world.”
AW2 Advocates help Family members achieve their goals as well. Walker connects Soldiers’ spouses with job opportunities or counseling in an effort to help them reach their own ambitions. As Walker said, “For me to stay a good AW2 Advocate, I have to be able to look at the whole picture: everything about the Soldier and their Family and their dynamics because that’s what you have to work with.”
As promised, Walker dedicated her life to working with severely wounded, ill and injured Soldiers and Veterans. “To me, it’s a duty of honor,” said Walker, who plans on continuing her career with AW2.
“I just hope that the Army continues to recognize the importance of helping our Soldiers and Veterans through the process, and the importance of AW2,” said Walker. “The difference that we make can be monumental.”
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