Sunday, April 20, 2014

"I've said before that America's debt to those who would fight for her defense doesn't end the day the uniform comes off. For the security of our nation, it must not end. Every time a man or woman enlists in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or Coast Guard, he or she is ready to lay down his or her life for our nation. We must be ready to show that America appreciates what that means." --President Ronald W. Reagan, 25OCT1988

HM3 James A. Raffetto's Story

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HM3 James Raffetto was assigned to the Marines of 1st Reconnaissance and, while in Afghanistan in August 2010, he was severely injured by an improvised explosive device (IED) blast.

When he decided to join the U.S. Navy, HM3 James Raffetto was living at home and working in construction, and he craved a more structured lifestyle. His brother had been a Marine and Raffetto was tempted to join the infantry, but his father suggested enlisting in the Navy and learning a useful trade. Becoming a Hospital Corpsman, Raffetto thought, seemed like the right course of action.

Raffetto spent the bulk of his Navy career in training; he was wounded during his very first deployment. He was assigned to the Marines of 1st Reconnaissance and, while in Afghanistan in August 2010, he was severely injured by an improvised explosive device (IED) blast. The accident resulted in the amputation of both his legs above the knee, an amputation of his left arm at the elbow, and the amputation of three fingers on his remaining hand.

Though his recovery process was very difficult at first, Raffetto, who now is standing tall on prosthetic legs, feels very hopeful about the future.

“Several factors help me stay positive: first and foremost, my wife – the best part about all of this is that she is with me and I can spend time with her,” Raffetto said. “Organizations like Navy Safe Harbor have made a big difference. And my physical therapists are extremely skilled. Had I been injured a few years ago, walking may have been impossible. But, considering the future of prosthetics, it is hard to not be optimistic.”

Navy Safe Harbor has helped the Raffetto family address a number of non-medical issues, from helping the family get to Raffetto’s bedside immediately after his injury to fixing pay and personnel problems.

“Navy Safe Harbor has been very helpful,” said Raffetto. “They strike the perfect balance of being there when you need them, but not hanging around when you don’t. [My Non-medical Care Manager] CDR Hamilton is phenomenal. She gets results, she checks in often, but she’s not overbearing in any way.”

“From day one James has maintained a positive attitude that sort of says: ‘This is where I fell; I’m going to stand where I am and move forward from here,’” said Hamilton. “He faced many trials in his recovery and rehabilitation but has never given up. He sets goals and strives to achieve them. He’s a champion.”

When they can, Raffetto and his wife Emily like to visit other wounded warriors; they generously offer their company, share their experiences, and offer an ear to listen if needed.

“The most important thing I can do is show the wounded warriors what they can accomplish during their recovery – by seeing me, they learn that so much is still possible,” said Raffetto. “I try to give them a realistic look – but a hopeful look – at what’s to come.”

Looking ahead, Raffetto says school definitely is in his future: “So many opportunities are available to me through Walter Reed and Bethesda. I want to get as physically and educationally able as I can and just go from there,” he said.

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"For all time, they are what we can only aspire to be: giving, unselfish, the epitome of human love -- to lay down one's life so that others might live. We think on their lives. We think on their final moments. In our mind's eye, we see young Americans in a European forest or on an Asian island or at sea or in aerial combat. And as life expired, we know that those who could had last thoughts of us and of their love for us. As they thought of us then, so, too, we think of them now, with love, with devotion, and with faith: the certainty that what they died for was worthy of their sacrifice -- faith, too, in God and in the Nation that has pledged itself to His work and to the dream of human freedom, and a nation, too, that today and always pledges itself to their eternal memory." --President Ronald W. Reagan 11NOV1988

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Inspired by the military community, Navy Safe Harbor Foundation was created to efficiently identify and meet the needs of recovering Sailors, Coast Guardsmen, Merchant Marines and their families. NSHF will fill the gaps of current nonmedical provisions through collaboration with federal and community resources. NSHF wants to ensure that every service member is given an opportunity for full recovery by providing financial assistance, respite care, special equipment, transportation, recreational opportunities, and other services.

 

A LIGHT TO THE NATIONS

"In times of war and of peace, our men and women in uniform stepped forward to defend their fellow citizens and the country they love. They shouldered great responsibility and lived up to the highest standards of duty and honor. Our veterans held fast against determined and ruthless enemies and helped save the world from tyranny and terror. They ensured that America remained what our founders meant her to be: a light to the nations, spreading the good news of human freedom to the darkest corners of the earth. Like the heroes before them, today a new generation of men and women are fighting for freedom around the globe. Their determination, courage, and sacrifice are laying the foundation for a more secure and peaceful world." --President George W. Bush, November 11, 2007

GENEROSITY AND KINDNESS

"Of course, while memory is the first measure of gratitude, its fullest and most meaningful expression is found in word and deed. We can never repay our veterans for all that they have endured for our sake, but we can show by our actions -- on this day and every day of the year -- that their great sacrifices are indeed cherished and remembered. Whether we do so on our own or through our schools, businesses, and community organizations, let us convey our thanks to veterans through acts of generosity and kindness. Let us demonstrate, in a special way, our respect and concern for those former service members who are hospitalized or disabled." --President George H.W. Bush, 07OCT1991

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Navy Wounded Warrior – Safe Harbor is the Navy’s organization for coordinating the non-medical care of seriously wounded, ill, and injured Sailors, Coast Guardsmen, and their families. Through proactive leadership, the program provides individually tailored assistance designed to optimize the success of the shipmates’ recovery, rehabilitation, and reintegration activities.

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Navy Safe Harbor Foundation is fortunate to have the support of our families, friends, military members, and community. You can do your part to help the seriously wounded, ill, and injured Sailors, Coast Guardsmen, and their families by volunteering, participating in a fundraising event, or making a donation . . . your support is greatly appreciated!

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FLEXIBILITY AND TEAMWORK

At the same time each service must vigorously develop, in that area where their functions meet, that flexibility and teamwork essential to operational success. It should also be clear that the Navy's ability to exert from its floating bases its unique pressure against the enemy wherever he can be reached in the air, on sea or land is now, as it has been, compatible with the fundamental principles of warfare. That our naval forces can be equipped defensively as well as offensively to project pressure against enemy objectives in the future is as incontrovertible as the principle that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. --Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, March 1948

Inspired by the military community, Navy Safe Harbor Foundation was created to efficiently identify and meet the needs of recovering Sailors, Coast Guardsmen, Merchant Marines and their families. NSHF will fill the gaps of current nonmedical provisions through collaboration with federal and community resources. NSHF wants to ensure that every service member is given an opportunity for full recovery by providing financial assistance, respite care, special equipment, transportation, recreational opportunities, and other services. The Navy Safe Harbor Foundation is dedicated to supporting the recovery of seriously wounded, ill, and injured Sailors, Coast Guardsmen, and their families by assisting them with resources not currently provided by government or community resources.

The Navy Safe Harbor Foundation (NSHF) is an IRS recognized 501(c)3 tax-exempt non-profit organization.

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