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New Horizons graduation
ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England - Master Sgt. David Haddaway, 48th Operations Support Squadron NCOIC of intelligence target training, is presented with a New Horizons graduation certificate from Brig. Gen. Jon Norman, Director to United States Air Forces in Europe-United Kingdom, Feb. 19, 2013. The New Horizons Wounded Warrior Support Program emphasizes physical, mental and spiritual support for wounded warriors stationed at RAFs Lakenheath, Mildenhall and Feltwell. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Stephanie Mancha)
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Ceremony held for New Horizons Wounded Warrior graduates

Posted 2/22/2013   Updated 2/22/2013 Email story   Print story


by Airman 1st Class Dana J. Butler
48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

2/22/2013 - ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England  -- The New Horizons Wounded Warrior Support Program held its first-ever graduation ceremony at the Strike Eagle Complex Feb. 19, 2013.

Fourteen Airmen from the 48th Fighter Wing and the 100th Air Refueling Wing at RAF Mildenhall were recognized for their completion of the five-week course.

At the graduation ceremony each successful graduate was presented with a New Horizons coin and a certificate of appreciation for their sacrifice, leaving them with a tangible acknowledgement upon completion of the program.

"Today's ceremony is the culmination of the dedication and vision of Mrs. Sharon O'Garro," said Col. Consuella Pockett, 48th Medical Group deputy commander. "O'Garro is the 48th Medical Group Wounded Warrior case manager. She identified the need for supplemental support above the services already provided for our wounded warriors."

Senior Airman Edgar Veguilla, 48th Security Forces Squadron patrolman, shared his story of post-traumatic stress disorder and how the New Horizons Wounded Warrior Support Program helped him.

"The New Horizons group made me feel accepted, welcomed and not alone. This program gave me support and the tools to manage my Post Traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms," said Veguilla. "I feel like I can take on the world now knowing that there are others like me and people I can talk to."

Before this program was created, wounded warriors were sent to Landstuhl Army Medical Center for treatment in Germany, far from their jobs, families and homes in England.

"The Landstuhl Army Medical Center program kept them away from their jobs, making them feel guilty," said O'Garro. "New Horizons allows the service member to stay in the local area so they are still able to do their job, which creates command support as they get the help they need."

The program emphasizes physical, mental and spiritual recovery for Wounded Warriors stationed at RAFs Lakenheath, Mildenhall, Feltwell and other United Kingdom bases that are part of the 48th MDG.

According to O'Garro, more than 30 wounded warriors from the 48th FW and the 100th ARW have participated in the program since it began in October 2011.

"We keep the groups small, between 10 to 13 people. Any more is considered a crowd and no longer therapeutic," said O'Garro.

According to Pockett, New Horizons sessions are ran entirely by volunteer health care providers, case managers, chaplains, veterans' affairs members and previous program graduates.

Brig. Gen. Jon Norman, director to United States Air Forces in Europe-United Kingdom, presented the coins and certificates to the program graduates and left them with some encouraging closing remarks.

"You're a survivor as well as a warrior and you have an important story to tell," said Norman. "You have been faced with life's greatest challenge and you faced it with dignity, honor and courage and you dominated it every step of the way. I really need you to reach out to those who are just beginning this journey that you have already been through. The role you can play and how you can help them is so important. You are a graduate from this wonderful New Horizons program, now it's time for you to reach out to others who are struggling with what you have already overcome."

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