By Miguel A. Santos III, WTC/AW2 Training Officer
What is an advocate? By definition, an advocate is:
1) a person who argues or pleads for or on behalf of another
2) a person who supports or defends another
3) and most importantly a champion
As a verb to “advocate” is defined as recommend, support, propose, defend, promote, speak for, propose and champion.
The Army Wounded Warrior Program (AW2) Advocates strive to assist Soldiers, Veterans, Families and caregivers overcome the visible, as well as the unforeseen, while supporting the AW2 population as a whole through the life-cycle process. In August, a combination of AW2 Advocates, Advocate Support Branch Subject Matter Experts, and Soldiers from across the United States gathered at the AW2 headquarters in Alexandria, VA. This effort, facilitated by Darin Callahan and Andrea Phillips, both members of the Warrior Transition Command G3|5|7 branch, examined all processes and tools an AW2 Advocate uses in the field.
Imagine a collection of super-heroes coming together each having specific knowledge, skill set, or ability. We had a collection of Batmen, Supermen, Superwomen as well as a few Jokers which kept us honest by poking holes in theories. I won’t sugar-coat this; it was not easy. There were great clashes on conflicting ideas.
After a 5.8 earthquake that was initially perceived as some great breakthrough of logic and common sense never felt before in the DC area, and Hurricane Irene that shook things up and provided some interesting challenges, everyone refocused on the week-long task at hand.
With the current-state, and future-state maps stretched across 50 feet of wall-space like many Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) television shows you may watch, we examined processes and commonalities and identified non-value added steps for the way forward. These steps will remove some bureaucracy, inefficient processes, and better equip Advocates with the tools to do their job in what may be a 50% shorter process time.
Hopefully, the outcome of this event will lead to the not-too-distant future Advocates being stronger, faster, and smarter at defending and smoothing out the Soldiers’ path to independence of any and all obstacles for the AW2 Soldier population.