December 27th, 2014 09:24 EST
Senior Leaders Meet With Wounded Troops at CFI
By Lori Newman
Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. James A. Winnefeld Jr. and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald visited with wounded service members at the Center for the Intrepid Dec. 19.
The day began with the VA Secretary presenting the Bronze Star and a Purple Heart to Staff Sgt. Steven Tessitore, an infantryman with Company B, 2nd Battalion, 162nd Infantry Regiment, who suffered a gunshot wound Nov. 15 while conducting a security patrol in Afghanistan.
Following the ceremony, the group -- which also included Laura Junor from the Office of the Secretary of Defense and Georgia Tech researchers -- met with six amputees whose injuries and stages of care varied and toured the CFI, Brooke Army Medical Center`s state-of-the-art rehabilitation facility.
"We need to continue to advance the state of the art of care for those among our force who have lost a limb," said Winnefeld. "So, I wanted to bring together a critical mass of customers, leaders, world class medical providers and engineers to see if together there is anything more we can do to improve the quality of life for our wounded, ill and injured warriors."
The amputees talked candidly about their experiences with their prostheses, what kinds of challenges they face using their devices, and the level of care they have received both at the CFI and at other military and civilian hospitals.
"I really enjoyed listening to this group of warriors, medical pros, leaders and researchers put their heads together," the vice chairman said.
All agreed that the level of care at the CFI is exceptional.
"We had an excellent tour of this state-of-the-art facility and the group was able to not only engage with the incredible professionals here, but also gain invaluable insight from the wounded warriors we met today," Winnefeld said.
"I always enjoy visiting the Center for the Intrepid because I experience the enthusiasm of the wonderful medical staff and I really get motivated by the determination of the patients here.
"These warriors are a special group of Americans. They`re showing us through their hard work and dedication how their ability triumphs over their disability. We owe them all our very best efforts."
Photo Credit: Wikipedia