Thursday, July 3, 2014

Service to Armed Forces Program Supports Warrior Transition Battallion

The American Red Cross has been providing support to U.S. Armed Forces for over 100 years – more than a century of service in peacetime and in war.
Warriors from the WTB pose with two recumbent bicycles
and with Red Cross volunteers after the Commander's
Challenge at the USOC in Colorado Springs.
Photo by Bill Fortune, American Red Cross
Recently the Red Cross Service to Armed Forces program in Colorado provided direct support to the Warrior Transition Battalion (WTB) at Fort Carson, Colorado, through the donation of customized recumbent bicycles. The bicycles were modified and maintained by technicians at Angletech of Colorado Springs, who also teach proper techniques to best utilize the bicycles.

The WTB supports more than 200 soldiers recovering from combat injuries.  Some of the soldiers will transition to civilian life and some will return to active duty. The WTB works with the soldiers to make that transition successful.

Battalion Commander, LTC Aaron Termain is passionate about the service that the WTB provides and very appreciative of the support given by the Red Cross.  "Every day we receive soldiers with complex circumstances and you never know what therapy works,” he said.  The WTB works on a combination of mind, body and spirit therapy, using adaptive reconditioning to help soldiers improve their day-to-day lives.   “What the Red Cross in Colorado is doing is helping soldiers work through their issues in a way that boosts their self-confidence,” LTC Termain said.

LTC Termain presents Certificate of Appreciation
to Tim Bothe, Service to Armed Forces Manager at
a ceremony on Fort Carson.
Photo by Arnett Luce, American Red Cross
The custom-designed bicycles give soldiers the opportunity to participate in a rigorous exercise program specifically tailored to their needs and abilities. They allow more soldiers to participate in programs like Ride for Recovery, which organizes group rides “on Post” and in Colorado Springs to build confidence and camaraderie.
LTC Termain recalled an Apache helicopter pilot who came to the WTB feeling like he had let the Army and his country down. “He was in pretty rough shape when he came to us,” Termain said. “But now he is back out there with family and friends, happier and healthier.  We couldn’t do that without the kind of support we get from the Red Cross.”

Since 2012 the Red Cross Service to Armed Forces program in Colorado has provided the WTB with a variety of equipment, including 50 FitBits bracelets, five indoor bike trainers, 10 pieces of compound archery equipment, three cycling videos for spinning, helmets, safety equipment, hydration pumps, 15 bicycles including 5 recumbent bikes.

SPC Rosa Holder with one of the recumbent
bicycles provided by the Red Cross.
Photo by Bill Fortune, American Red Cross
The equipment that has been provided by the Red Cross has allowed soldiers to become active again and engage in a new hobby or lifestyle. According to SFC Peter Kieliszewski, Assistant S3 Operations NCOIC, “It gets them engaged with friends and family, which is all part of the recovery process. “

The recumbent bicycles were of particular interest to SPC Rosa Holder. Holder is recovering from injuries she received while serving in Afghanistan with the 218th Medical Detachment. "This is so exciting. I always loved to bike ride but I can’t ride a regular bike now,” Holder said as she sat on one of the bikes. “But I can ride one like this so my physical therapy is going to be so much more fun. This will be awesome!"  

Holder's story reflects the stories of many service members who have been helped by the Red Cross Service to Armed Forces program across the country and around the world. You can see other photos of the support for the Warrior Transition Branch on our Flickr page at Warrior Transition Battalion Support. You can learn more about volunteering for our Service to Armed Forces program at Supporting Military Families.

LTC Termain, Battalion Commander, stands with WTB members to say
"Thank You" to the Red Cross Service to Armed Forces Program.
Photo by Arnett Luce/American Red Cross

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