Testaments of Healing

  • Published
  • By Shannon Hall
  • Air Force Wounded Warrior Program

When most people hear the word ambassador, they think of someone educated, professional, and of high importance but no one really considers how they got to that position. The path of an Air Force Wounded Warrior (AFW2) program Ambassador is not an easy one by any means.

AFW2 takes care of the U.S. Air Force’s wounded, ill, and injured Airmen, Veterans, and their families. Ambassadors with AFW2 have gone through, and continue to fight through, the darkest days of their life and are living testaments to all that you can overcome anything with the right tools, training, and family beside you. The biggest part of their healing process, as an Ambassador, is learning to share their story with the world.

“An Ambassadors role is to publicly share their story to military and civilian audiences,” said Melissa Weist, Outreach and Ambassador Program manager. “To be successful in doing that, we offer workshops with instruction on public speaking, knowing your audience, military and community engagement, social media practices and other training.”

Even though AFW2 has gone virtual with their training and education services, they have not stopped the healing portion of any Warriors recovery. Ambassadors still go live on Facebook to tell their story; they still attend virtual training to learn how to be successful and play a pivotal role in helping others get through their hardest days.

“You not only heal by being resilient, but also telling my story heals me,” said Master Sgt. Deondra Parks, AFW2 Ambassador. “I still struggle daily, so having this family in blue, most definitely helps me get through my toughest days,” Deondra said.

This week AFW2 is hosting its first ever Virtual CARE Week, and a diverse group of Ambassadors joined the call to perfect their story-telling skills and be a guide for those who are learning to tell their story for the first time. Throughout the week they will learn how to engage with their audience, speak with media agencies, learn about the other programs within AFW2 and give their testimony to each other.

Ambassadors provide a front-row perspective on how AFW2 helps Airmen, like no one else. Ambassadors allow attendees into their world, sharing their lowest points in life, and how they made it out with the help of the program. By telling their stories, the audience gains knowledge of the program and is also shown that they are not the only ones struggling and that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Part of getting to that light, is helping others to get to theirs through sharing their testament.

Visit the programs Facebook page to hear stories of resiliency and engage in wellness activities hosted by AFW2 Warriors and staff. For additional information, visit www.woundedwarrior.af.mil to refer an Airman to the program, read about the program’s mission, or learn about additional programs offered to Caregivers and families.