By Maria Christina Yager
Soldiers from Fort Campbell’s Warrior Transition Battalion and their family members had a chance to discover new activities together during USO Warrior Week at Austin Peay State University.
USO Warrior Week – which is held in Virginia Beach, Virginia, Fort Campbell, Kentucky and El Paso, Texas – is an annual event helping wounded warriors and their families. It features free, therapeutic and recreational activities as well as events and music for participants to enjoy and explore together.
“Anytime the family can do something together it makes an impact on the family. In particular, when they can learn a new activity together, you make those memories and reconnect to family who maybe haven’t been able to connect over something lately,” said Kari Moore, center director at USO Fort Campbell/Nashville and USO Fort Campbell Warrior Week Coordinator.
More than 70 wounded warriors and their family members participated in the event as well as soldiers and families from the 101st Airborne Division.
USO Warrior Week featured a variety of activities for all ages and fitness levels including kayaking, team sports, golf, scuba, water aerobics, photography, songwriting, geocaching, and rock climbing. Participants were also provided free lunch coordinated through the USO and had a special viewing section for an evening concert at Clarksville’s Downtown Commons.
“I think this is a great opportunity for soldiers to get out and participate in different adaptive sports,” said Lt. Col. Heath Holt, commander of the Fort Campbell warrior transition battalion.
“There are activities for every skill level, which is great. We have soldiers who can almost do everything they could do before they were injured and others who are just beginning their recovery so it’s a great mix of events for our soldiers to get out and get active.”
Maj. Leigh Weaver, who is assigned to the Fort Campbell warrior transition battalion, and her family participated in the event’s goat yoga, which involves different yoga poses and small baby goats.
“They walk on your back and come over and you can pet them and just enjoy some peaceful time. There is always something about animals that is more relaxing,” Weaver said.
“I think they should have this at the [warrior transition battalion] more frequently.”
Staff Sgt. David Johnson, an Illinois National Guard soldier who was assigned to the warrior transition battalion following a deployment, does not have family in the area, but connected with fellow soldiers at the event over scuba diving and other water sports.
“With the transition unit, they can’t schedule a lot of group activities because a lot of the activities are based off an individual’s abilities to perform certain tasks. So at Warrior Week, to have the ability to pick and choose certain events that facilitate the healing, but also gets you into group activities, is really a special thing to do,” Johnson said.
He and others participated in free introductory scuba classes offered by a local business.
“The mission of the USO is to strengthen America’s service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country throughout their service to the nation,” Moore said.
“At Fort Campbell, we have a really amazing opportunity to work with the military family and to make sure they stay connected. Sometimes that means the right snack at the right time and sometimes it means impactful family programming.”
-This story first appeared on DVIDS.net. It has been edited for style, accuracy and grammar.
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