Navy Dads


Helping Hands

At various times in their lives our Navy family may need a helping hand during tough times. Use these resources to find the aid they need!

Members: 35
Latest Activity: Oct 20, 2016

Our Goal


After talking with many of you I've realized that our sailors and/or their families often run into tough patches and could use a hand to help them through tough times. Whether it be financial, spiritual, or just feeling down about something or someone, we want to develop a list of resources that are available for them to get some support and help in dealing with a life crisis. We invite any of you to use these resources to help and if you find a link we don't have, please add it so we can aid someone else.

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Contact Your Ombudsman

Started by NavyDads Admin (Paul) Mar 14, 2014. 0 Replies

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Comment by NavyDads Admin (Paul) on March 12, 2014 at 12:45pm

Find out how Operation Heal Our Patriots is serving wounded veterans and their spouses during and after a weeklong retreat at Samaritan Lodge Alaska. Samaritan's Purse brings wounded and injured veterans and their spouses...

Comment by NavyDads Admin (Paul) on January 2, 2014 at 2:54pm

posted by Chris Moren on the ND FB page:

Hello Fellow Navy Dads and Happy New Year! I hope this note finds you well. As an ex-Navy YN (and now a proud father of a new Submariner) who processed many a leave and liberty request over the course of my career, I know that many of your sailors are traveling over the next few days. It is important to note the following as it relates to potential travel delays due to weather.

1. You should go to the airport as scheduled.

2. If your flight is cancelled - DO NOT PANIC! Immediately notify your Command Duty Officer and your Section Leader and explain the circumstances. Make sure that you write down who you spoke to, and when. Make sure you speak to a live person if possible. Keep trying - try not to leave a message unless it's a last resort, but follow-up as soon as you can afterward to speak with someone. Save your cell phone call history as additional backup documentation.

3. It is imperative that you receive documentation from the airline of the cancellation - typically the ticketing agents can provide this to you. If they are reluctant to do so, ask to speak with a supervisor. Most airlines also have a Military Representative that is available to help. Regardless - you need to prove to your command that the delay is caused by the airline - and this documentation will help.

4. Make sure you're booked on the next available flight - again, the airlines should be able to work with our Military families to ensure they're accommodated.

5. Keep your command informed of any updates / changes to the schedule.

6. KEEP ALL YOUR DOCUMENTATION. This includes official cancellation notices from the airlines, hotel vouchers, meal vouchers, etc. All should be turned in to the command upon return.

Bottom line. This stuff happens. Keep your command updated and make sure you have all the documentation as proof. While commands do not like Sailors reporting back from leave / liberty late, if you have documented proof that you made a best effort and keep the command informed, there should not be any issues.

Good luck to everyone and please travel safely!

Comment by NavyDads Admin (Paul) on January 2, 2014 at 2:52pm
Comment by NavyDads Admin (Paul) on February 23, 2012 at 10:12am

this is an important publication that hopefully no one will ever need....but if they do please be aware of help available:

Comment by NavyDads Admin (Paul) on February 16, 2012 at 9:28am

an update from the USO:


Thanks to people like you who support our troops every day, I have two great numbers to share with you: 220,000 and 7,282.

The first is the number of visits our troops will make to the new USO center in East Bagram, Afghanistan this year thanks to your support. That's approximately 220,000 times they'll get to experience some of the comforts of home, get to make a free phone call to a loved one, or record a bedtime story for their family.

And thanks to your support, 7,282 represents the number of hours the new center will stay open in 2012. That's a truly remarkable feat and we couldn't have done it without you.

Click here to see the first photos of the brand new USO center that your support helped make possible.

Comment by NavyDads Admin (Paul) on January 14, 2012 at 11:23am

one of the most important projects the USO has ever undertaken.....this is from the USO publication On Patrol:

Listening to the stories of how wounded warriors and their families have been affected by the wounds of war, leaves a staggering sense of helplessness and compassion on the part of the listener. 

How can one help? What comfort can be offered to these heroes? Their stories are incredible. Their wants minimal.

An airman, while sitting in the jumpseat of a helicopter in the sky over Iraq, was hit by an RPG as the missile blasted through the chopper’s noseshield. Exploding shrapnel penetrated his eyes and face, yet as the crew struggled for control he could only think of helping the others on his crew. Today, blind in one eye, and after enduring numerous surgeries, he cares for fellow wounded warriors, guiding them through the paperwork-laden rehabilitation process, even picking up groceries for his charges. 

His wish for wounded warriors and their families beginning the same journey he did six years ago? A comforting place to go when family members first arrive at the hospital to see their loved one—many unprepared for a prolonged stay. A place where the shock of the situation will not be so great as it is in the ER waiting room, and where together, they can prepare for the years ahead.

An Army veteran of more than 20 years was on a local governance security mission in Iraq. His job was to escort an Iraqi delegate to a town meeting. As attendees took their place in the room, the delegate sat down in his chair, which had been rigged with a pressure bomb. The ensuing explosion killed everyone in the room except for this soldier. 

His request? A place to think. And a dog. 

“A dog would be great,” echoed a fellow wounded warrior who had been shot in Afghanistan. “It would be the most loved dog in the world.” 

For the wives and mothers caring for a wounded warrior? A laundry room with machines that don’t require coins, and plenty of detergent.

Comfort is the simple things—a safe place, a dog, a fax machine for filing claims—that wounded warriors and their families yearn for to ease just one day’s burden. 

An artist's rendering of the new USO center at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Courtesy graphic.An artist's rendering of the new USO center at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Courtesy graphic.Architecture has inspired people through the centuries—from the pyramids to cathedrals—giving those within peace and tranquility. “Meaningful architecture is not devoid of depth nor is it ostentatious. It has dignity, meaning, and an embedded emotion such as the St. Louis Arch, which signified a portal to the west,” said principal architect of STUDIOS architecture, Christopher Budd. “It has a deep belief and commitment to the user and the ability to intuitively craft an experience that results in meaning that elevates the human experience.”

Notes Esther Sternberg in Healing Spaces: The Science of Place and Well-Being, “Some places, which we have learned to associate with safety, can rescue us in times of need.” 

Why then have hospitals been ignored by the world of architecture where peace is needed most?

Over the past 100 years, Walter Reed Army Med­i­cal Center in Washington, D.C., has become synonymous with warrior care, treating thousands of wounded warriors. Built in 1909, the hospital’s original design was steeped in the prevalent style of late-19th century hospital architecture, employing large windows and porches to bolster the healing of its patients with sunlight and fresh air. 

One of the military’s premier treatment centers in the United States for wounded troops is fittingly located on former farmland that in 1938, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt selected because of the spring-fed pond at its center. The small pond reminded Roosevelt of the Biblical Pool of Bethesda, a place said to have miraculous healing waters, in ancient Jerusalem. For three generations, the National Naval Medical Center (NNMC) in Bethesda, Maryland, has cared for those injured in defense of our nation, its iconic Art Deco hospital tower standing tall over the nation’s capital.

Both Walter Reed and NNMC have been leaders in providing wounded warrior treatment. With the significant medical advancements of the last century such as vaccines and life-saving techniques, not only are people living longer, but on the battlefield, troops are surviving injuries that even 10 years ago would have been fatal. The environment in which they are treated is also being redefined. 

As Sternberg suggests, “The idea that built space may affect health could not be investigated in scientific terms without the late-20th century advances which established that connections between the brain and the immune system are essential to maintaining health.” 

To cope with the signature wounds of Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom—multiple amputations, severe burns, post traumatic stress, and traumatic brain injury—a new method of recovery is being developed; a holistic healing of body, mind, and spirit through a 360-degree lens of patient care, including the effect of the buildings that shelter our wounded have on healing. 

In 2011, after years of planning, Walter Reed and NNMC will unite in Bethesda to care for America’s wounded warriors. With the marriage of the two legendary hospitals, a new world-class hospital will be born—the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC).

“This is not just about building a hospital,” stated Captain Michael Malanoski, commanding officer of Naval Support Activity, Bethesda, of the new campus. “When we are done, we will have created a healing environment to support the wounded warrior, and their families. This is about patient and family-centered care, and we do this better than anyone else in the world.”

On the banks of the Potomac River, south of the nation’s capital, another world-class hospital is being built at Ft. Belvoir, Virginia. Also set for completion in 2011, the Ft. Belvoir Community Hospital is a state-of-the-art facility that will support the new WRNMMC and provide long-term care for wounded warriors. The new hospital and its surrounding buildings reflect the colonial architecture of Virginia, while still allowing the natural beauty of the Potomac and the surrounding area to filter in to the patients’ room through the glass exterior of the 1.3 million square foot facility.

Two businessmen visited the Warrior and Family Support Center at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, in 2007. A cramped space in the family hotel on post, the center provided administrative support, gift cards and other donations from the community, as well as recreational activities for wounded warriors being treated at Brooke Army Medical Center, the military’s leading burn hospital. With hundreds of U.S. service members having sustained serious burn injuries in Iraq and Afghanistan, the medical and support staff at Brooke, along with the teams at its sister hospitals at Walter Reed and NNMC, have worked relentlessly to not only heal the wounds of war, but to also ensure those wounds will not stop the warriors from leading fulfilling lives after they leave the hospital.

“The original inspiration for a new Warrior and Family Support Center came from a Sunday school class that wanted to help the wounded warriors at Fort Sam,” remembered Steve Huffman, president of Huffman Developments, a commercial development company based in San Antonio, Texas. “My brother, Les, visited the Warrior and Family Support Center with the class and saw the need for more than gaming systems, gift cards, and cookies from the community. He and I went back a few days later and decided within 10 minutes to build a new support center to provide expanded services for wounded warriors to meet their needs.”

The Warrior and Family Support Center at Brooke Army Medical Center, Texas. Courtesy photo.The Warrior and Family Support Center at Brooke Army Medical Center, Texas. Courtesy photo.The result is a 12,000-square foot Texas ranch-style home surrounded by verandas speckled with deck chairs, a family kitchen, a learning center, and seven acres of healing gardens. A soaring Lone Star great room supported by beams of reclaimed wood highlights a double-sided fireplace providing inside and outside seating. Adjacent to the main hospital and the Center for the Intrepid—a cutting-edge rehabilitation center for burn and amputee patients built by the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund—the new Warrior and Family Support Center opened its doors in 2008. The project, funded entirely through the generosity of the San Antonio community, was the perfect remedy for many of the warrior patients and their families at Brooke. “You know the building is a success when you walk in and see soldiers who have been seriously injured, smiling,” said Huffman.

The construction of the center also brought old dreams to life. Sergeant Bill Kleinedler, wounded in 2006 in Iraq, had a background in architecture before joining the Army. During his recovery, he used art therapy to help improve the dexterity in his scarred hands. Upon hearing about the new project on post, Kleinedler stepped forward to offer the center its signature piece of art, a 19-foot iron sculpture of interlacing vines on which 75 butterflies float. He called the piece, “Hope.”

“When we were working on the project, and construction was close to completion, we wanted a focal point that fit with the facility to place over the fireplace,” recalled Beverly Lamoureux of Huffman Developments. “We had planned a butterfly garden as part of the landscape. Then we learned that the wives and mothers had adopted the symbol of the butterfly in the burn unit—their loved ones were in a cocoon, but would recover beautifully. ‘Hope’ became more than just a symbol in the center, it provides inspiration that a better life still awaits all who enter. The project in turn helped Sergeant Kleinedler move on. He is now working as an artist in Massachusetts.”

Since World War II, the USO has provided essential programs and services to the military and their families. More than 160 USO centers around the world allow troops to relax in a home-like setting no matter where they are serving. 

Yet, there remains an urgent need. More than 30,000 service men and women have returned home seriously wounded since 2001, and many still need support today. 

The USO is stepping up to help America’s wounded warriors and their families.

Identifying the same need in Washington, D.C., that Huffman Developments recognized in San Antonio, the USO is building two new centers—at the new Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and at Ft. Belvoir in Virginia—to heal and meet the non-medical needs of wounded warriors and their families.

An artist's rendering of the interior of the new USO center at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Courtesy graphic.An artist's rendering of the interior of the new USO center at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Courtesy graphic.More than a traditional USO center, the buildings at WRNMMC and Ft. Belvoir, encompassing 25,000 square feet each, are the largest initiative undertaken by the USO since its inception in 1941. A $100 million comprehensive campaign is underway to build the new centers, endow them, and fund the programming to create a community of care extending from the centers to communities across the nation. 

For the past year, the USO has engaged in research, surveys, and focus groups to determine the needs of today’s wounded warriors and their families, while learning from the best practices at the Warrior and Family Support Center in Texas. The USO and STUDIOS architecture, the firm selected to design the new buildings, conducted hundreds of interviews with wounded warriors (including members of the Reserve and Guard), their families, military medical professionals and staff, community groups, and subject matter experts in the care of wounded warriors.

 “The purpose of these buildings is really what distinguishes them. While the buildings are not so different from other buildings, the population, intent, and emotional content certainly is. From this perspective there is a far greater sensitivity to a wider range of issues than exist in a typical structure,” said Budd of the design for the centers. “Eliminating physical and psychological barriers, designing for dignity, and engaging the user are so important with these buildings that almost nothing is business as usual. But even more important is how to add meaning and a sense of ownership to a population undergoing transition.”

Beginning in 2011, the wounded warrior community, including their families, will receive care at WRNMMC and Ft. Belvoir. 

“The audience is highly varied,” noted Budd. “We have caregivers, children, and the wounded warriors. While the wounded warriors may have specific physical needs, it is really the variety and choice embedded in the expectation of the facility that impact the design considerations. For instance, how do families provide for children at the facility? How do single wounded warriors engage with the facility as opposed to those with families? But most of all, we are trying to understand how the space can provide dignity and support a population under stress who have sacrificed so much and no doubt have challenges ahead of them.”

The vision for the new USO centers is to provide a place of respite, foster the healing process for wounded warriors and their families, restore hope, and plan for the future.

“The USO is going to provide a space where wounded warriors and their families can go and feel good, feel safe, and feel cared for,” said Elaine Rogers, president of the USO of Metropolitan Washington.

Wounded warriors may stay in outpatient status for as long as 18 months to seven years, with the need for ongoing caregiver support and access to the main hospital throughout that time. Both USO centers are situated within walking distance of the hospitals and outpatient housing, so warriors and family members seeking an hour or two of relief can easily go to the USO without worrying about missing an appointment.

Throughout the recovery process, the USO will also offer different opportunities for each phase of rehabilitation through programs at the buildings—from respite when the injury has overwhelmed the family to rebuilding a new normal for the wounded warrior so he or she can plan for the future. A concierge desk at the entrance of each building will provide information about activities and services offered by other military support groups. 

An artist's rendering of the new USO center at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. Courtesy graphic.An artist's rendering of the new USO center at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. Courtesy graphic.

By bringing together a family kitchen, children’s play spaces, recreational areas such as movie theaters and golf simulators, classrooms and a learning center, healing gardens, a laundry, and a business center with fax machines, scanners, and copiers—expressly for wounded warriors and their families—under one roof, the USO at WRNMMC and Ft. Belvoir will become a home away from home for our wounded warriors and their families. 

“Wherever you are in the course of illness or healing, your physical surroundings can change the way you feel and, as a result, can change how quickly you heal,” asserts Sternberg. 

And although the way one heals can take on many forms—from art and music to writing and meditation to exercise—the strength of love and compassion from others is the most important. And that is why these USO facilities are so necessary. 

When wounds of the body or mind fester, as anyone who has experienced a chronic illness knows, distraction and a change of scenery can ward off boredom, depression, and anxiety.

 “Inside these centers, wounded warriors and their families will feel the embrace of staff and volunteers and know that there is a caring community to help them through this very difficult time,” explained Sloan Gibson, president of the USO.

Employing natural materials such as stone, wood, and bronze, the buildings take into consideration specific design needs based on the injuries sustained by the warriors. For instance, for those suffering from a traumatic brain injury, natural light and consistency in way-finding will assist in navigating the buildings; those with post traumatic stress will find quiet areas within their walls; amputees need not worry about hard flooring because the floors will be “soft,” while all seating will have arms to move easily from a wheelchair to a chair or sofa; and burn patients will enjoy a controlled climate and easy-to-use hardware on doors and cabinets.

“We hope that when the wounded warrior sees these buildings that he or she understands that this is for them and is a small but powerful token of appreciation,” Budd said of the project. “We hope there is a sense of ownership that provides a sense of belonging and some of the qualities of being at home, of being comfortable, of being a family. We also hope it takes a bit of burden off families and caregivers by providing a greater sense of normalcy to cushion the disruption in their lives.”

“These centers should be a catalyst for truly inspired care by coupling the very best of military medicine with the awesome support and capabilities of private America,” added General Peter Chiarelli, vice chief of staff for the U.S. Army. 

Infused with natural light, blending architecture and nature seamlessly to bring the outside in, the buildings will also capture the four seasons of the mid-Atlantic region with open floor plans and inviting vistas.

The new USO centers are scheduled for completion in late 2011 and early 2012, and will be a focal point for the country to express its gratitude to the men and women who have sacrificed so much on the nation’s behalf. The buildings will stand as a testament of America’s promise, that together with our wounded warriors and their families, this battle will be fought and won.

“There is something about honoring our wounded warriors and not letting them be forgotten or invisible,” Budd said. “Creating something that is so profoundly specific to the wounded warrior and his or her family provides a symbol that does not allow these individuals to be ignored or forgotten. It is not a hospital; it is not an anonymous housing unit. It is life and it is a future for the men and women who every day protect our freedom.”

To support the USO centers at WRNMMC and Ft. Belvoir, please visit:

Comment by NavyDads Admin (Paul) on January 14, 2012 at 9:44am

Last Thursday I spent an interesting hour over coffee speaking with a member of the USO Development team.  Besides talking at length about some of the programs the USO has to support the military and military parents, because of my long commitment to supporting the USO I was awarded a USO Challenge coin:

which I am pretty proud of!!

Also I want to spend some time over the next couple of weeks detailing some of the projects the USO is involved in that many people do know know about.  They truly do support our military and provide a ton of services for the families of those serving as well....

Comment by NavyDads Admin (Paul) on December 17, 2011 at 8:01am

Support from the VA: Shared experiences and support for Veterans

Comment by NitaSewBee on July 28, 2011 at 10:47am
Missy, There is a group over on N4M's . Its a siblings group. Its for us moms who have younger kids at home.. I hope things worked ou for you and your younger son is doing well
Comment by NavyDads Admin, Tim on June 14, 2011 at 8:42am
5/26/2011 - WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- As part of an ongoing effort to better serve the military community, the American Red Cross will move to a single Telephone number for its emergency communication services in June.

Beginning June 13, service members and their families can use one toll-free number, 877-272-7337, to send an urgent message to a service member. "The Red Cross has always been there for us," said Robert L. Gordon III, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for military community and family policy. "It's critically important to our men and women serving away from home that their families know whom to call in the event of an emergency. The Red Cross is now making it even easier to make that call."

In the past, military families living outside an installation needed to remember the phone number for their local Red Cross chapters for emergency communications, while those living on a military installation used the 877-272-7337 number. Now, military members and their families can use this single number to initiate an emergency communication, regardless of where they live.

For those people stationed overseas, the three options for calling will remain the same: calling 877-272-7337 direct, accessing the number through a military operator or calling their local Red Cross station.

"An emergency situation can be a very stressful time for a military family, and having just one common telephone number to remember can make a difficult situation a little easier," said Sherri Brown, the senior vice president of Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces. "U.S. military personnel and their families can remain confident that the Red Cross will be there to keep them connected when there is a crisis at home."

Through this number, Red Cross emergency communications services can put service members in touch with their families following the death or serious illness of an immediate family member, the birth of a service member's child or grandchild, or when a family faces other emergencies. Additional Red Cross services, such as case management and emergency financial assistance, are also available.

(Courtesy of the American Red Cross.)

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