Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Panel Discussion with Wounded Warriors

AFA's Wound Airman Program will host a panel discussion on June 6, 2014, featuring wounded airmen participating in the 2014 Air Force Association Cycling Classic (AFACC).

The AFACC, held in partnership with Arlington Sports, Inc., is the region’s premier cycling event, held June 7-8, throughout Arlington, Va.

The panel discussion will take place at the Key Bridge Marriott in Arlington, Va., from 12:00pm to 1:00pm. The panel will include three airmen who will discuss their journey to recovery, from injury or illness to rehabilitation – and how cycling and other adaptive sports have been a part of it. Attendance and lunch is complimentary. Click here to register.
"I feel incredibly fortunate to be competing in this event (the Air Force Association Cycling Classic) with my fellow wounded, military, and community of supporters," said Capt. Mitch Kieffer, one of the panelists who also is a Purple Heart recipient for Traumatic Brain Injury. "Organizations like AFA's Wounded Airman Program and the Air Force Wounded Warrior Program have supported me and improved my quality of life in ways that modern medical treatment could not."

Additionally, a representative from the Air Force Wounded Warrior Program will participate on the panel, sharing with attendees how the U.S. Air Force is taking care of wounded, ill, and injured airmen.

Meet the Panelists

SSgt. Daniel Crane joined the Air Force in November 2007 and graduated from the Security Forces Tech School in April 2008. In 2011, he was assigned to the Contingency Response Group at Andersen AFB, Guam. Nine months after being stationed there, he was targeted by an anti-U.S. military local from Guam who shot him while off-duty. He was MEDEVAC’d off the island and has undergone numerous surgeries to save his arm. He medically retired from the military February 25, 2014, due to loss of function in his right arm and hand. In 2013 SouthWest Valor Games, Crane earned a gold medalist in both air pistol and archery and earned a silver medal in air rifle.

SSgt. Melissa Garcia is currently the Independent Duty Medical Technician (IDMT) at the Flight Medicine Clinic in Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz. While assigned to Lackland AFB, Texas, she worked in the plastic and neurosurgery clinic, where she had the chance to work with breast cancer survivors during their reconstruction as well as with military members who were disfigured in combat. Sometime later, in February 2012, she was assigned to Davis-Monthan AFB. Since being stationed at Davis-Monthan she has deployed once and was diagnosed with breast cancer while on the deployment. For her work, she has been awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal in 2011 and 2013.

Capt. Mitchell Kieffer is currently Active Duty Air Force stationed at Langley AFB, Va., serving as an Operations Research Analyst for Air Combat Command. He started his career at Eglin AFB, Fla., serving as an Analytical Scientist, then later as a test engineer. He volunteered as a single augmentee and deployed to Iraq in a joint assignment in efforts to rebuild the country. His team came under attack in a complex ambush while returning from a site near Baghdad when he was wounded. Capt Kieffer is a Purple Heart recipient for Traumatic Brain Injury. Kieffer is a 2013 Warrior Games Ultimate Champion, the first-ever Air Force recipient of this award.

The Air Force Association Cycling Classic and Wounded Airman Program

The AFACC will take place June 7-8 throughout Arlington, Va. The event encourages cyclists of all abilities to participate in its various events, which include two days of riding and racing – from professionals and amateurs to enthusiastic adults and kids! AFA’s Wounded Airman Program (WAP) will be the sole official beneficiary and will receive a portion of the funds raised from the event. WAP supports the work of the Air Force Wounded Warrior office and directly helps seriously ill and injured airmen, and their caregivers, financially and with adapted equipment and lifestyle items.

To learn more about the AFA Cycling Classic, please visit www.cyclingclassic.org/.
To learn more about the Wounded Airman Program, and to donate, please visit www.afa.org/WAP.

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