Sailors and Coast Guardsmen stationed in the Pacific Northwest participated in a Wounded Warrior-Safe Harbor project, Aug. 17.
The Navy’s Wounded Warrior – Safe Harbor Program assists service members who are injured or have a serious illness for both medical and non-medical needs.
The service members provided assistance in helping the Owens family with yard work and staining a wrap-around deck.
“I am not able to do these tasks out here today, and they are too great for my wife to do, so we really needed the help of these service members here today,” said U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Anthony Owens, who also served in the Navy.
Owens was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. ALS affects the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord and led Owens to being in a wheelchair.
“It really warms my heart to have everyone out here helping our family,” said Owens.
Owens said that the Safe Harbor program has helped him through these trying times.
“My life is not easy, but this program has really helped make it easier,” said Owens. “They really do a lot for me and go above and beyond.”
The Navy Safe Harbor program is the Navy’s lead organization for coordinating the non-medical care of wounded, ill and injured Sailors and Coast Guardsmen and their families.
Dedicated to non-medical needs, the organization’s management services are designed to fit each service member’s unique requirements like pay and personnel issues, lodging and housing adaptation, transportation, legal and guardianship matters.
“This is all about trying to make the lives of our wounded brothers easier,” said Lt. Chad Hutchins, regional director, Navy Wounded Warrior-Safe Harbor. “It’s important that we take care of our own and let them know we will always be there for them and their family.”
Sailors stationed aboard commands throughout Navy Region Northwest made the trip to Bellevue to help with the project.
“We really want to show that we care about our community and our former shipmates,” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) 3rd Class (AW) Chelsea Dell, junior enlisted volunteer coordinator, Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74). “They put in so much work for our country and the Navy, that it is our duty to help them in their time of need.”
Safe Harbor also includes an enhanced command and control element to interact with Federal Recovery Coordinators and Fleet and Family Support Centers, assignment of non-clinical case managers to all major hospitals and fleet concentration areas, and enrollment-for-life protection for all Safe Harbor Sailors and Coast Guardsmen.
Press Release, August 20, 2013; Image: US Navy