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Roll for recovery: Office of the Warrior Advocate hosts outreach event

Dave Nelson Jr., a retired U.S. Navy anti-submarine warfare operator and search and rescue swimmer, bowls during an event hosted by the Office of the Warrior Advocate at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, Dec. 21, 2017. The OWA reached out to many organizations in the Omaha and Offutt community to share what resources are available on base for Wounded Worriors, disabled veterans and their families through bowling. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jacob Skovo)

Dave Nelson Jr., a retired U.S. Navy anti-submarine warfare operator and search and rescue swimmer, bowls during an event hosted by the Office of the Warrior Advocate (OWA) at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, Dec. 21, 2017. The OWA reached out to many organizations in the Omaha and Offutt community to share what resources are available on base for Wounded Worriors, disabled veterans and their families through bowling. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jacob Skovo)

Wounded Warriors and disabled veterans bowl during an event hosted by the Office of the Warrior Advocate at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, Dec. 21, 2017. The adaptive bowling event aimed to strengthen the community of injured active duty service members and veterans the office has been building since it was established in October 2016. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jacob Skovo)

Wounded Warriors and disabled veterans bowl during an event hosted by the Office of the Warrior Advocate at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, Dec. 21, 2017. The adaptive bowling event aimed to strengthen the community of injured active duty service members and veterans the office has been building since it was established in October 2016. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jacob Skovo)

Dave Nelson Jr., a retired U.S. Navy anti-submarine warfare operator and search and rescue swimmer, bowls during an event hosted by the Office of the Warrior Advocate at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, Dec. 21, 2017. The OWA reached out to many organizations in the Omaha and Offutt community to share what resources are available on base for Wounded Worriors, disabled veterans and their families through bowling. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jacob Skovo)

Dave Nelson Jr., a retired U.S. Navy anti-submarine warfare operator and search and rescue swimmer, bowls during an event hosted by the Office of the Warrior Advocate (OWA) at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, Dec. 21, 2017. The OWA reached out to many organizations in the Omaha and Offutt community to share what resources are available on base for Wounded Worriors, disabled veterans and their families through bowling. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jacob Skovo)

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Nebraska -- The Office of the Warrior Advocate gathered 25 Wounded Warriors and disabled veterans for a bowling event at Offutt Air Force Base Dec. 21, 2017

The adaptive bowling event aimed to strengthen the community of injured active duty service members and veterans the office has been building since it was established in October 2016.

The warriors, vets and their families played games of nine pin "No Tap" bowling, in which knocking down 9 pins counts as a strike. They ate together and held a drawing for various prizes. In addition to the fun, participants had the opportunity to network and share experiences which has the potential to be just as helpful when recovering as medical care.

“Through the OWA, I finally got to meet somebody else with the same injury as me," said Tech. Sgt. William Royster, OWA community outreach liaison. "I got to ask him questions and talk about day to day stuff like, 'have you experienced this, did you do this, did this happen to you?' All of it was something he had been through too, and I kind of got to feel normal for the first time. I have even met with a spouse of someone who has the same injury as me. She asked me all these questions and I feel like I was able help her understand what her husband is going through and hopefully ease the strain on their marriage."

The OWA reached out to many organizations in the Omaha and Offutt community to share what resources are available on base. Members of Paralyzed Veterans of America, Disabled American Veterans, Veterans Association and Veterans of Foreign Wars were invited as well as those who receive correspondence from the OWA and the Airman & Family Readiness Center, including those who are still serving.

“The OWA is the best organization I've ever been a part of,” said Staff Sgt. Jimmy Chavez, 595th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron E-4B communication and navigation craftsman and part time OWA community outreach liaison. “My recovery has been much better because of the OWA, so I think I need to do what I can to help others who may have gone through a situation similar or worse than mine, but who still don't know they're not alone.”

Through the bottom-up approach the OWA takes they are able to focus on an individual’s needs, whether that means helping them continue to serve or transition out the office. 

“I attended my annual Green Dot training the other day and they spoke about creating and community and a sense of purpose," said Maj. Mike Shick, OWA director. "That's what the OWA does for its wounded warrior community. The Airman's creed says 'I will never leave an airman behind,' and that is exactly what we are trying to do."

The OWA intends to hold future events for a wider audience to raise awareness of the functions provided by the OWA and understanding of the struggles Wounded Warriors face. 

If you or someone you know would like more information on the OWA please visit room 324 of Building C on Offutt AFB, call 402-294-7083 or email 55wg.wwac.woundedwarrior@us.af.mil