JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Wounded Warrior Safe Harbor leaders came down to Jacksonville from Washington, D.C., Thursday to spread the word about the program, which provides support and resources to service members in the Navy and U.S. Coast Guard who become seriously ill or hurt.
Many service members get treatment for injuries and illness at the Naval Hospital at the Naval Air Station Jacksonville, but sometimes they need more help and that's where Wounded Warrior Safe Harbor comes in.
"It's good to know I can pick up the phone and call somebody," said Fort Lauderdale-based Coast Guardsman Chris North.
North said that goes a long way during a difficult time.
"The program is awesome," North said.
He has been in the Navy's Wounded Warrior Safe Harbor program since February after he was diagnosed with a long-term and potentially life-threatening illness.
"After tests and tests and x-rays, they found out that I had vasculitis," North said.
North and his wife were among dozens who took part in a forum at NAS Jax with the Safe Harbor program's leaders from Washington, D.C.
"Emotionally and psychologically, it's all about the what ifs. And we try to take those off the table as they come so they can focus on their medical recovery," said Capt. Brent Breining, director of Navy Wounded Warrior Safe Harbor.
During the meeting, program leaders were able to hear from the families of sick or injured military members who receive the services.
Dario Santana, director of Navy Wounded Warrior Safe Harbor, said the program is a way to serve the people who served the country.
"That's what we do and we want to get better at it," Santana said.
The program's not for everyone, but it's helped more than 4,000 service members of the Navy and Coast Guard so far, giving them support when they need it most.
"Just to support me and be there with me emotionally and physically," North said.
The program is only for seriously ill or injured active, transitioning and retired service members of the Navy and Coast Guard. All other branches of the armed forces have similar programs as well.