President Obama Hosts Wounded Warriors Taking Part in the "Soldier Ride" at the White House

Thanks to your courage and your resolve, we've been able to end one war, and begin winding down another. But for you, and for all our wounded warriors, coming home doesn't mean that the fight is over. In some ways, it's only just begun -- President Barack Obama, April 17, 2013

Today we are privileged to celebrate the upcoming journey of some of our amazing Wounded Warriors. These inspiring Veterans will accomplish the daunting task of riding over the next three days and inspiring us all. For these combat-wounded veterans, Soldier Ride uses cycling and the bonds of service to overcome physical, mental, or emotional wounds of war. It’s a wonderful connection as they return to an active lifestyle.

President Barack Obama high-fives a rider in the Wounded Warrior Project’s Soldier Ride on the South Lawn, April 17, 2013.

President Barack Obama gives a high-five to a rider as he and Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki welcome the Wounded Warrior Project’s Soldier Ride to the South Lawn of the White House, April 17, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

President Obama is committed to caring for our wounded warriors by expanding access to the best health care available and helping them to overcome their injuries, assisting in pursuing employment, and connecting them to the best education available to meet their personal goals. The Administration understands that a successful recovery requires access and connection to quality care and services.  That is why in August of last year the President signed a Military Mental Health Executive Order that increases the number of VA mental health professionals and peer-to-peer support counselors.

In 2011, Veterans Affairs partnered with the Department of Defense to ensure severely wounded, ill and injured Service members, Veterans, and their families receive seamless recovery, rehabilitation, and reintegration through Federal Recovery Coordinators (FRCs). In coordination with the Fisher Foundation, VA’s Fisher House Program support family members and Caregivers of Service members transitioning from military to VA medical facilities.

The Administration recognizes that when a Service member is injured, many offer support and assistance, but it is the Caregivers who truly sustain the veteran, and remain a critical component to full rehabilitation.  The President signed the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010, providing our most seriously injured Post-9/11 Veterans and their family caregivers with a monthly stipend to help fend off financial hardship and support services such as: access to health insurance; mental health services and counseling; comprehensive VA Caregiver training and respite care.

It can be difficult, even for those who did not suffer an injury while serving, to transition into the civilian workforce. This Administration believes programs which help injured Service members and Veterans find meaningful employment is instrumental to improving their ability to live as independently as possible.  The Disabled Veterans Outreach Program (DVOP) was instituted in order to assist veterans who face barriers, because of the injuries they endured, find employment. Operation Warfighter (OWF) is a Federal internship program for wounded, ill, and injured Service members to provide supportive work settings that positively impact rehabilitation. The President also created a task credit to incentivize businesses across the country to hire veterans with service-connected disabilities. The VA’s Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Assistance program (VetSuccess) provides service connected Disabled Veterans with skills to prepare for, find, and keep suitable jobs.

Every effort aimed to support and assist our returning service men and women, whether it comes from the White House or your house, is part of the commitment we made as a nation to serve them as well as they have served us. I am  encouraged today by the strength and endurance demonstrated by our Soldier Ride Warriors  Let us continue to travel along with them on their road to recovery, providing support, camaraderie, and care. We are stronger as a nation because of our amazing Warriors and their families.

President Obama and  VA Secretary Shinseki welcome the Wounded Warrior Project’s Soldier Ride to the South Lawn, April 17, 2013

President Barack Obama, with Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, welcomes the Wounded Warrior Project’s Soldier Ride to the South Lawn of the White House, April 17, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Rosye B. Cloud is the Director of Policy for Veterans, Wounded Warriors, and Military Families
Related Topics: Defense, Veterans