As Spc. Louis Roane waits to medically retired from service, his Army Wounded Warrior advocate is helping him transition into the next phase of his life.
“She’s been very proactive. That’s a wonderful way to be,” said the Warrior Transition Brigade soldier. “In the military you’re always trying to be proactive instead of reactive. ... There were a lot of things I thought I had under control.”
His advocate helped him enroll in college and start classes to carry his military specialty of truck driver into the civilian job market. Roane even got help finding sports programs to enroll his three children in.
“She’s amazing,” he said of his advocate, Carol Livengood. “She calls ... and asks if there is anything she can do to help.”
The Army Wounded Warrior Program celebrated 10 years of serving soldiers April 22. It’s been around longer than the Warrior Transition Command — created in 2009 — it now operates under.
Over the last decade, this program has supported more than 19,000 of the Army’s most severely wounded, ill and injured soldiers and their families and caregivers throughout their recovery and transition, even into veteran status.
“What makes it unique is it supports the most severely wounded and the support is completely personalized,” said Col. Johnny Davis, D.C.-based program director.
“The advocates are the key to success. There are more than 200 located worldwide.”
At Fort Hood there are nine advocates, and four work with about 450 soldiers in the Warrior Transition Brigade.
“I enjoy being able to help service members transition from the Army into a successful civilian life,” Livengood said. “My job is to open doors. The service member has to walk through it.”
Since 2008, Livengood has worked with Fort Hood soldiers as they navigate their medical care, education, benefits and anything else that may arise.
“It’s very fulfilling for me to see soldiers and families utilize what is available to them at Fort Hood,” she said.
On Thursday, she was able to see a soldier’s last request from his time in the Army come to fruition.
In 2012, Sgt. Shane Lawry was awarded the Purple Heart Medal for injuries sustained in Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne Division.
Soon after redeployment Lawry moved to Fort Hood and the medal was never formally presented to him.
It was his one request to Livengood.
“It feels good to finally get it,” he said. “The Warrior Transition Unit and (the wounded warrior program) have helped me. ... They helped me get into cycling and I rode a bike with the Ride 2 Recovery. They helped me get back into things I used to enjoy.”
Livengood watched Lawry receive his medal before his wife and three children.
“Today was one of the most wonderful things,” she said. “That’s the epitome of what I do. ... I’m in the background, behind the scenes, helping.”
Now Roane is working to secure a job with a company he met at a wounded warrior program job fair.
“It think it’s important for it to continue just because of what it’s done for me,” he said. “I can’t imagine what it has done for everybody else.”