The Initial Perception
By Shannon Hall, Air Force Wounded Warrior Program
/ Published August 14, 2021
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas (AFNS) --
There are many common sayings that go along with how important the first impression you leave on someone is. No matter the circumstances for someone’s behavior, on any particular day, there is no way to reverse that initial interaction, conversation, attitude, etc. For this reason, and many more, the Air Force Wounded Warrior (AFW2) Program puts some of their best people as the first stop warriors interact with.
Recovery Care Coordinators are usually the first people warriors come in contact with, either before or during their enrollment process. They are responsible for making contact with the warrior within the first 72 hours of them being enrolled in the program and conducting an initial assessment of the Airman or Guardian, and their families needs within the first week. They then take this information and coordinate those needs with the service member’s care management team, their leadership, the Airman and Family Readiness Center, a Family Liaison Officer and any other person(s) who need to be involved with the service member during their recovery process.
“I spend my day providing information, support and guidance for our wounded, ill and injured Airmen and Guardians,” said Ivette Bohannan-Bagnato, AFW2 recovery care coordinator. “I do this by working with multiple entities and programs to ensure the warrior, and their family, are well informed and empowered to meet the challenges ahead.”
Some RCC’s cover one base, while others cover multiple, depending on their location. They have office hours to allow for warriors and caregivers to come visit and talk. They also brief wing leadership on their cases, how to best help Airmen and Guardians enrolled in the program and the benefits available to service members and their leadership. In this job position, RCC’s have every opportunity to influence young Airmen and Guardians, wing leadership and family members. No one asks to be enrolled in AFW2, but every warrior enrolled needs a circle of support.
“Unfortunately, things don’t always go according to the rule book and that’s where we can step in and advocate for the warrior and impact is the main reason I continue down this career path,” said Joseph LoFria, AFW2 recovery care coordinator. “Appreciating the impact that I can make on a warrior’s life is the biggest reward for me. Whether it be the service member returning to duty to complete their career, or ensuring they obtain maximum benefits with a smooth transition plan to avoid stumbling blocks along the way if they are no longer fit for duty.”
No matter the outcome of the warrior’s career, AFW2 has a ton of resources to help the Airmen, Guardian and their family conquer their new normal and the RCC’s usually help make the first contact. Some of these resources include Building Homes for Heroes, HEROES, Schedule A, OWF internships, Veteran’s Service Officers, Veteran’s Assistance and a ton of local organizations that can be found through AFW2 Community Programs.
“Every day I choose to devote myself to a career that strives for being solution-driven on an individual level,” Ivette said. “This has been one of the most rewarding and fulfilling careers and I am blessed and honored to support and serve our Airmen and Guardians. Never be afraid to effect change if it’s for the better or greater good.”
The Air Force Wounded Warrior Program has so much to offer service members who are enrolled, but they do not know that unless they are paired up with someone knowledgeable and willing to go above and beyond. That is what AFW2 RCC’s do each and every day for the warriors, and their families.
To learn more about the AFW2 program, see what RCC is within your region and how to contact them, or to enroll an Airman or Guardian, please visit the website at www.woundedwarrior.af.mil.