Safe Harbor Program Supports Troops, Families
(May 26, 2010)
|BETHESDA, Md. (NNS) -- Wounded, ill and injured service
members face a multitude of challenges throughout their
recovery process; to ensure they can concentrate on their
recovery, Navy Safe Harbor program provides assistance with
The Navy Safe Harbor program is the Navy's lead organization
for coordinating the non-medical care of wounded, ill and
injured Sailors and Coast Guardsmen and their families.
Dedicated to non-medical needs, the organization's
management services are designed to fit each service
member's unique requirements. They handle such things as pay
and personnel issues, lodging and housing adaptation,
transportation, legal and guardianship matters.
"Navy Safe Harbor provides a systematic approach to
providing a continuum of non-medical care to our recovering
Sailors and Coast Guardsmen by working in concert with
organizations both within and outside of the Navy," said
Commanding Officer, Navy Safe Harbor Command Capt. Key
Watkins. "Safe Harbor assistance has proven to be invaluable
to our enrolled shipmates by lifting much of the burden from
them and allowing them to remain focused on their recovery
and rehabilitation activities."
"We provide lifetime tailored assistance and assist with the
successful recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration into
society for our Sailors and Coast Guardsmen who are
seriously ill or injured," said Senior Chief Hospital
Corpsman Kendall Hillier who is a non-medical care manager
in charge of Navy Safe Harbor's Bethesda satellite office.
"We also work with their families," she said, "because
families are an integral part of the recovery process."
Hillier said the patients they work with are not all wounded
warriors. Some are injured in shipboard, car and motorcycle
accidents, or have cancer or other serious physical and
psychological illnesses. She added not all are inpatients,
some are outpatients and in different stages of their
"Safe Harbor currently has over 1,000 actively engaged
patients in the program nationwide," said Hillier. "It
started in 2005 with a staff of three and enrollment of 20
war-wounded Sailors, at that time only war-wounded Sailors
were eligible for the program."
Hillier also noted what is unique about the Safe Harbor
program from others is a reserve surge support team that can
be rapidly activated in the event of a large scale disaster
or when multiple casualties occur within a short time frame.
They also have the Anchor Program, a Reserve Component
Retiree Council partnership of volunteer mentors that
provide lifelong contact with enrollees and their families.
"The program has been absolutely helpful and they are a
wonderful group to have helping out," said Hospital Corpsman
3rd Class Jacob Emmott, a Safe Harbor enrollee and former
National Naval Medical Center inpatient injured in
Afghanistan. Emmott said Hillier was assigned to him as a
case manager. "She handled a paycheck issue for me," he
said. "She really did everything she could every chance she
got — especially when I was in the ICU."
Emmott said it was a pleasure being taken care of by
Hillier. He would love to come work for her some day.
Emmott's mother, April, said the attention and the care they
received from Hillier was wonderful.
"From day one, even before Jake arrived, she reassured us
and maneuvered us around for everything we needed," she
said. "It has made our visit 'Jake-specific' and we didn't
have to deal with any other details."
Emmott's father, Bob, was pleased with and grateful to the
Navy Safe Harbor program and its members at the Bethesda
"They steered us toward everything to help us," he said.
By Cat DeBinder
National Naval Medical Center Public Affairs
Navy News Service
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