Arlington, Va. (NNS) -- Eleven service members enrolled in the Navy Safe Harbor Program and their caregivers were recognized during the 2nd Annual Navy Safe Harbor Awards Ceremony in Arlington, Va. Sept. 30.
"The vast expanse and input, and the people that Safe Harbor touches is amazing," said Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert, Vice Chief of Naval Operations (VCNO).
The Navy Safe Harbor program assists service members who are wounded, ill or injured with non-medical issues. More than 550 active duty, retired, reserve, discharged Sailors and Coastguardsmen are enrolled in the program.
"Our mission is to augment Navy medicine's mission of taking care of Sailors", said Capt. Key Watkins, Navy Safe Harbor director. "We pick up where they leave off. We do everything the Sailor and family needs, along with servicing the coast guard."
During the ceremony, the eleven service members and their caregivers were invited to the stage as a brief synopsis was read describing the challenges they have faced and overcome.
Navy Safe Harbor Program 2010 awardees received certificates from VCNO, as a token of appreciation for their commitment.
"The most challenging aspect of recovery was going from 100 miles per hour to 0", said Special Operator 1st Class Mark Robbins. "The most inspiring aspect for me was Navy Safe Harbor stepping in and helping me get back on my feet."
Robbins lost his right eye when he was shot by a sniper while on his second deployment to Iraq.
Culinary Specialist Seaman Judi Boyce, Master-at-Arms 3rd Class Nathan Dewalt, Rose Lammey and Stephanie Rose, were recognized for their ongoing commitment to the Navy Safe Harbor organization.
"It's always fun being the lowest ranking person demonstrating that small people can make a big difference," said Boyce, who suffers from Moyamoya disease, a rare cerebral-vascular disorder. Boyce acts as an advocate for the program.
"Safe Harbor is here for everybody," said Boyce. "They will find you if you don't find them, they will bother you in a good way. The hardest part is saying you need help. Once you come to grips with that, the help will continuously come."
During ceremony Lt. Cmdr. Sandra Cole was recognized as the 2010 Navy Safe Harbor Non-medical Care Manager of the Year.
As one of 17 non-medical care managers, Cole assists wounded warriors on a daily basis with a variety of issues such as pay and personnel benefits, veteran's benefits, childcare and family challenges, and employment benefits during their recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration.
"This award means a lot", said Cole. "We have care managers all over the United States working for the Navy that are representative of how wonderful Navy Safe Harbor is."
The Navy Safe Harbor Program was created in 2005 in support of the Military Severely Injured Center which had seen an influx of sea service members who were seriously wounded in Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF).
When the Navy Safe Harbor Program was created, the staff consisted of a Navy liaison, program director and an outreach case manager. At the time there were only 20 OIF and OEF Sailors enrolled in the program.
For more news from Defense Media Activity - Anacostia, visit www.navy.mil/local/DMAA/.