Thursday, November 14, 2013

Air Force Wounded Warrior Office and Air Force Association Announce New Partnership

Air Force senior leaders, Wounded Warriors, and Air Force Association staff met during an AFA-hosted Warrior Mixer in Colorado Springs on October 30, 2013. Daniel Ginsberg, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, and AFA's Executive Vice President retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Richard Newton, presented a joint memorandum of understanding regarding AFA's Wounded Airman Program (WAP). The new agreement gives AFA access to work with the Air Force Wounded Warrior (AFW2) office to directly support Airmen and meet their family needs beyond what the Air Force can currently provide.

WAP will provide specialized equipment, financial aid, and other quality of life assistance to Airmen throughout the various stages of their service. Moving forward, AFA plans to utilize its nation-wide network of chapters and members to raise money and awareness to fulfill the needs of our Wounded Airmen.

The Warrior Mixer was held during an adaptive sports camp at the Air Force Academy, in conjunction with Corona, which is a biannual meeting of 4 star generals. Lt. Col. Susan Black, chief of the Air Force Wounded Warrior Program opened the evening, and was followed by the MOU announcement, as well as testimonials from warriors who have been involved in the program and now serve as mentors. One of these was MSgt Christopher Aguilera, to whom AFA presented a sports-equipped wheelchair for the 2012 Warrior Games.

General Newton addressed the crowd, thanking the local AFA Lance P. Sijan Chapter for their support of the program, recognizing the resilience of the Warriors and their caregivers, and the work of AFW2. “This MOU is an important document—symbolic of our commitment to caring for all Airmen and their families. It is our turn to serve the Airmen who have put themselves in harm’s way to fight and win our Nation’s wars. AFA is here to step up as the Force looks for ways to be more efficient and innovative at a smaller scale, while maintaining airpower superiority. It is our duty to step in and provide services where we can, and we are here for you: the warriors, caretakers, and families.” Newton closed by calling Mrs. Paula Roy, AFA’s Director of Airmen and Family Programs, to the front to surprise SrA August O’Niell with an adapted handcycle to continue his training and recovery at home. 

Lt Gen Newton, Marsha Gonzales, SrA August O'Niell, Paula Roy, Lt Col Susan Black, and Dave Shiller pose after surprising O'Neil with a recumbent handcycle at the MOU announcement.

"What an amazing evening! The Air Force Association announced the signing of the MOU with the Air Force pledging to support ‘care beyond care’ for our Wounded Airmen who have given so much,” said Roy. “I will never forget the look on SrA O'Niell's face when I announced that AFA would be presenting him with an adaptive hand cycle to aid in his rehabilitation. I felt so humbled to be with our Wounded Warriors! They are an inspiration to everyone!"

To learn more about the program, or to donate to the cause, visit:

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