–By Sarah Greer, AW2 Stratcom–
Last night, AW2 delegates had a night to themselves, as Operation Purple Camp and childcare extended their hours to 9pm. However, some delegates just wanted to be with their kids!
“My husband and I missed our two-year-old son,” said AW2 spouse Helory Echang. “So we picked him up and took him to dinner with us.”
Ricci Moore, one of the Subject Matter Experts, took her 14-year-old son for a sightseeing bus ride and to the Spaghetti Factory. “We rode past the Alamo and the University of Texas at San Antonio,” she said. “We really enjoyed seeing the city together.”
Soldiers’ Angels, a non-profit veteran service organization, sponsored dinner for ten delegates at the 750-foot tall Tower of the Americas. Delegates Joe and Leslie Fowler were among the lucky winners. “The food was fantastic, and the view was beautiful,” said Leslie. “We could even see Brooke Army Medical Center, where Joe has been treated for his burns.”
William Self’s wife wasn’t able to join him at the Symposium. When he won two seats at the dinner, he immediately decided to bring his son, Jacob, as his “date.” For many delegates, Couples’ Night turned out to be a family affair, a chance for AW2 Soldiers to reconnect with all the Family members who accompanied them to Symposium.
AW2 Symposium delegates spoke highly of their Focus Group experiences thus far. The groups are working well together, and the delegates are hopeful and excited about the possibility of improving the Army’s ability to care for wounded warriors and their Family members.
“We haven’t gotten into the button-pushing issues yet,” said AW2 Soldier Darcy Quinlan, a delegate in the Careers group. “My group has shown real maturity and interest in addressing the issues.”
AW2 Soldier Mario Bracamonte and his spouse Angelica were also impressed with the Focus Groups thus far. “There are so many important issues in the VA Focus Group,” said Mario. “In addition to the issues in the books, we’re looking at different aspects of the challenges. It’s an eye opener to learn what everyone has been through.”
“I can tell that resolution is in the air,” said AW2 Spouse Shenise Stamps. “As a mother of five, Family is my expertise, and even my facilitator commented that the Family group members are very passionate about these issues. As spouses, we are used to advocating for our children and our husbands. This week, I hope to impact as many AW2 Families as possible.” The Stamps Family is certainly enjoying their Symposium experience – ten-month-old Kennedi took her first steps this morning!
Operation Purple Camp Wall of Honor
Over the last two days, AW2 kids have been working on a Wall of Honor dedicated to their parents wounded in the line of duty. Operation Purple displayed several of the pictures and statements about the parents, including:
- I am proud of my dad because he goes through a lot to help his family.
- I’m proud of my dad because he took care of two kids and served in the Army for a long, long time.
- My dad saved us from the bad guys.
- I love my dad because he loves me, takes me to the pool, lets me pick lunch, and lost his foot for my freedom.
- I’m proud of my dad because, even though he was injured in Iraq, he still lives life like nothing ever happened.
Today, Operation Purple campers are going to Sea World! They’ll get a behind-the-scenes tour, ride the roller coasters, and watch Shamu and other shows. Tonight, many of their parents will meet them there just in time for a Texas BBQ dinner and more theme park fun through Sea World’s Here’s to the Heroes Program