GREAT LAKES, Ill. (NNS) -- Service members from Navy Region Midwest along with family members attended the Returning Warrior Workshop (RWW) at the Hyatt-Regency Hotel in Milwaukee, Wis., June 25-27.
RWW is an important part of the Department of Defense Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program.
RWW is designed to honor individual augmentee Sailors who have returned from overseas and those who have had particularly hard deployments. The RWW addresses the stress that comes from these hardships.
"This weekend is a celebration," said Capt. Peter Davenport, commander, Navy Region Midwest Reserve Component Command. "We're dealing with citizen Soldiers, who have a family and a day job. It's an honor to be among folks who raised their hand and said 'I'm willing to go forward.'"
Retired Capt. Eugene McDaniel, who survived six years in Vietnam prisons as a POW, served as a guest speaker.
"As I look back on the tapestry of my life, every turning point for good has been at a point of failure," said McDaniel. "The best thing to happen to me was to get shot down. It gives you time to reorganize your priorities."
Topics during the event included warrior transitions, telling your story, spiritual and emotional well-being, reconnecting couples, debt management, single Sailors and why a warrior would want to go back. Attendees are given information about resources available to assist with their transition back from deployment. For those wishing to speak about issues in a private environment, confidential sessions with counselors were available.
RWWs are hosted throughout the country by Reserve component commands and are a chance for Sailors and their dependents to talk to others who have had similar experiences.
Representatives from Veterans Affairs, the Vet Center, Employer Support for the Guard and Reserves and Military One Source were available to answer questions and provide assistance.
Master-At-Arms 1st Class Kenneth Hartup from Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane spent more than eight months in protective services around the Middle East. Hartup attended the event with his wife, Andrea Hartup.
"This is our second RWW," said Hartup. "I just came back from the Middle East two months ago. I feel a lot closer to my wife after this. It helps her understand where I'm coming from, and I now understand where she's coming from."
The RWW ended with a banquet, which featured a string quartet, gourmet food and a speech by Vice Adm. Dirk Debbink, the chief of the Navy Reserve.
Letters of appreciation were given to Sailors and their families and friends for standing by their side. The night concluded with the Sailors being given quilts from the Quilts of Valor Foundation.
"The banquet was my favorite part," said Andrea Hartup. "It makes me proud to know that others are proud of what my husband does."
"I think she had a harder job than I did," said Kenneth Hartup.
Navy Region Midwest Reserve Component Command will sponsor another RWW in Omaha, Neb., Sept. 18.
For more news from Commander, Navy Reserve Force, visit www.navy.mil/local/nrf/.