Comforts Of Home
CU staff ensure injured and ill servicemembers recover in a homelike setting.
For wounded soldiers no longer hospitalized but still needing extensive treatment before returning to their units or going home, the Army has created Warrior Transition Units (WTU).
Andrews Federal Credit Union, Suitland, Md., is providing décor as well as toiletries, linens, cookware, dishes, and other supplies for WTU rooms at the U.S. Army Garrison Benelux in Chievres, Belgium, and the U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden, Germany.
The credit union serves U.S. military installations in Belgium, Germany, and The Netherlands, and 22 staff members help with the WTUs.
“Our soldiers risk their lives every day for us to live safely,” says Al Johnson, Andrews Federal’s vice president of European operations. “When they’re hurt in the line of duty, they should be able to recover in comfort. We are honored to play a part in helping these soldiers transition back to their units or to civilian life.”
In Chievres, the credit union sponsors the entire WTU—two double-room suites that house four soldiers with shared kitchen, laundry room, and bathroom.
In Wiesbaden, the credit union sponsors a double room with a shared bathroom at one WTU, and a suite with sleeping area, bathroom, kitchenette, and living room for one occupant at the other WTU.
As new servicemembers arrive—sometimes with little or no clothing or personal items—the credit union staff provide gift cards for clothing and food, and welcome baskets with toiletries, snacks, and thank-you cards.
In June 2008, the credit union hosted a barbecue for Wiesbaden WTU servicemembers, cadre, and their families.
During the holidays, credit union staff provide homemade cookies and goodie bags for servicemembers and their families, personalized holiday greeting cards, and care packages. It also donated a Nintendo® Wii gaming console for the Wiesbaden WTU day room to help soldiers do more physical activity while healing.
Soldiers assigned to a WTU each have the support of a squad leader, nurse, case manager, and primary care manager, according to U.S. Army Garrison Benelux Public Affairs. Typically they require six months or more of complex treatment, although there’s no time limit on their stay.
In February 2007, the Army created the WTU program, and the first WTU opened at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, D.C., in April 2007. The WTUs served by Andrews Federal opened their doors in 2008—Wiesbaden in January and Benelux in October.
The Army plans to establish 32 such units and has allocated $1.2 billion for WTU facilities and projects, reports the Army News Service.