“One-Stop Shop” For Wounded Warriors & Their Families
November 20, 2008
When the problems at Walter Reed came to light, President Bush created a committee to investigate where the government was failing their wounded warriors and to come up with suggestions for solutions to fix the problems that were discovered. That committee, headed by former Kansas senator Bob Dole and Donna Shalala, had many suggestions, which have been being implemented across the military and in the VA over the past year. One of the problems identified, was the sometimes seemingly endless agencies and programs that the Soldier and their family had to navigate, often without much guidance. Thus the idea was formed to create a kind of a “one-stop shop” in which warriors and their family members could access these services in one location.
I was fortunate enough to be able to participate in a Bloggers Round Table teleconference on November 12th about the US Army Soldier and Family Assistance Centers (SFAC), of which there are currently 34 at Army installations across the Army. The presentors for the event were Major General John Mac Donald, Commanding General of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command and Mrs. Delores F. Johnson, director of Family Programs, Headquarters, US Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command. The SFACs are designed to be kind of a “one-stop shop” for wounded warriors and their families, to make obtaining information and care much easier and less time consuming. Services and programs are located under one room, in a single facility to make access to these services much more efficient for wounded warriors and their family members.
The environment at the SFACs are warm and friendly, making the facility inviting to the Soldiers and their family members, which in turn can promote physical, spirtual and emotional healing. Many services are located under the roof of an SFAC and staff is available to help the Soldiers and their family members navigate the sometimes confusing system and access the programs and services that are right for them.
Services that are provided at SFACs are:
* Military personnel and in/out processing
* Benefits counseling: Federal (VA, Department of Labor, Social Security, Medicare) and State
* Finance (military pay, travel pay and per diem)
* Emergency financial assistance, Army Emergency Relief & money management solutions
* Identification cards
* Receiving and disburtion of donations to soldiers
* Internet access
* Family assistance & support programs
* Traumatic Serviceman’s Group Life Insurance
* Army Wounded Warrior Program
* Child & Youth Services (including child care)
* Installation access
* Retirement services
* Veterans benefits counseling
* Conduit to federal, state and non-governmental organization services
* Education counseling
* Transition/employment assistance
* Referral services
Some SFACs may offer additional services based on local needs.
Programs at the SFAC are available to the Wounded Warrior, their parents, spouses, significant others and other family members who may not have knowledge about the military. The hopes are that with the “one-stop shop” type availability it will decrease stress on the Soldiers and their family members. In the Army, there is a lot of excitement about the SFACs and the response from the Soldiers and family members alike has been extremely positive.
Along with the services available at the SFACs are activities that are planned for the Troops to participate in, such as the Warrior Adventure Quest. One of the presenters, Major General John Mac Donald shared that this is a “new flavor of an old program.” Warrior Adventure Quest is combination approach of activity along with phychologists who work with the battle-mind programs. The program focuses on high adrenalin events and by using the Battle-mind techniques, helps to “talk them down” and help them to explore the thoughts and feelings that lead to them seeking out high adrenalin activities. Often when a Soldier leaves the combat zone, where they’ve been exposed to high levels of adrenalin due to the nature of the things they face in combat, coming home doesn’t provide the same levels of adrenalin that combat does. Because of that, the Soldier may seek out high risk activities, in order to reach that same level of adrenalin they had in the combat zone. This can lead to accidents, difficulties at home and problems adjusting to the slower paced life at home. In the Warrior Adventure Quest activities, the Soldiers are able to experience the “high adrenalin” activities in a controlled, thus safer environment.
I’m excited about what the SFACs can do to promote and assist in the healing of our Wounded Warriors, whether they’re planning to stay in the Army following their recovery, or transition into the civilian world. I think family members and Soldiers alike will find virtually everything they’ll need during the recovery and transition period. I’m excited to see what new programs and changes will be added as time progresses and this is something I’ll attempt to keep our readers abreast of. If you know a wounded warrior or family member, please don’t hesitate to refer them to their local SFAC. The following installations currently have SFACs.
Balboa Naval Hospital in California
Fort Belvoir, Va.
Fort Benning, Ga.
Fort Bliss, Tx.
Fort Bragg, NC
Fort Campbell, Ky.
Fort Carson, Co.
Fort Dix, NJ
Fort Drum, NY
Fort Eustis, Va.
Fort Gordon, Ga.
Fort Hood, Tx.
Fort Huachuca, Az.
Fort Irwin, Ca.
Fort Jackson, SC
Fort Knox, Ky.
Fort Leavenworth, Ks.
Fort Lee, Va.
Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.
Fort Lewis, Wa.
Fort Meade, Md.
Fort Polk, La.
Fort Richardson, Ak.
Fort Riley, Ks.
Fort Sam Houston, Tx.
Fort Sill, Ok.
Fort Stewart, Ga.
Schofield Barracks, Hi.
Fort Wainwright, Ak.
USAG Grafenwoehr, Germany
USAG Heidelberg, Germany
USAG Kaiserslautern, Germany
Walter Reed Army Medical Center
West Point, NY
To access the SFACs if you’re not near one of the above locations, or if you just have questions, you can call the Warrior and Family Hotline: 1-800-984-8523 24/7. Those overseas may call DSN: 312-328-0002. Stateside the DSN number is: 328-0002. You may also reach the SFAC information by emailing .
Army One Source also provides information on accessing the SFACs.