Story and photo by Spc. Nathan Thome
4th Infantry Division Public Affairs Office
Sgt. Mark Johnson credits the monthly wounded warrior breakfasts with helping him reintegrate into his unit and feel like part of a team again.
“You have those Soldiers out there who are recovering, but they don’t think anyone cares, so they withdraw and keep to themselves,” said Johnson, Company A, 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th BCT.
“That’s why I think the entire premise of having breakfasts to show appreciation to those Soldiers who put their safety on the line to accomplish their mission is not only touching, but helps Soldiers recover from their injuries.”
Johnson was one of 13 injured servicemembers recognized for his sacrifices by fellow Soldiers, command leadership and community members during the 4th BCT Wounded Warrior Breakfast Oct. 17 at the Mountain Warrior Dining Facility.
The “Warrior” Brigade Rear Detachment holds the monthly breakfast to recognize and show appreciation for injured Soldiers who have returned from the brigade’s current deployment in Afghanistan.
“This gathering is a nice way to get together, check on our wounded warriors, and let the community recognize (them) and say ‘thank you’ for their service,” said Lt. Col. Nicholas Palarino, commander, Rear Detachment, 4th BCT.
Through active engagement, leadership and fellow Soldiers use the monthly opportunity to talk about the overall well-being of the redeployed veterans.
“We hold these breakfasts to check on our Soldiers, see how they’re doing and how the recovery process is coming, and that they are getting the support and resources they need,” Palarino said. “Even though we do that on a day-to-day basis, now it’s in an informal setting so we can just talk to them casually.”
Palarino said that wounded warriors often rely on each other to help with stress or personal issues.
“Internally, (they) are like their own battle buddy system,” said Palarino. “The guys or gals who came back earlier and have been going through the recovery process have used some of these resources, and they let the newer guys who come back know what services they should go to.”
Brigade leadership invites community members and leaders from organizations that help wounded warriors to meet and thank the Soldiers.
Johnson said he appreciates the opportunities the breakfasts provide.
“This is a good way for us to interact with the higher chain of command,” said Johnson. “We get to know some of the programs to help with our stress and things that have happened to us.”