By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Gilbert A. Bolibol
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (NNS) -- A Navy Reservist has been chosen as the first mentor in the Colorado area for the Navy Safe Harbor Anchor Program.
The program matches a Sailor returning to his or her local community with a mentor that will provide local support and assistance. Aviation Structural Mechanic 2nd Class Randy Cullen was selected primarily based on his leadership for the past three years as the lead petty officer for the Warrior Games located in Colorado Springs, Colo.
"The Navy Safe Harbor Anchor Program is a program designed to help transition wounded warriors back into the civilian sector and matching them up with a mentor in the area that they will be residing," said Cullen.
As a Reservist, Cullen drills with Operational Support Unit (OSU) 1914 at Navy Operational Support Center (NOSC) Fort Carson. He was paired with Master-at-Arms Seaman Steven Hancock on July 10, 2011. Hancock sustained injuries during a tour in Dubai where he fell five stories when the balcony that he was standing on collapsed.
Each wounded warrior is given a questionnaire to find out his or her particular needs. Hancock used his questionnaire to find out what type of outdoor recreation and activities were available in the Colorado area since he was relocating from Florida. Even with the injuries sustained in Dubai and the countless surgeries due to the injuries, Hancock has not let that slow him down and still enjoys life with the help of Cullen.
One of the requirements of the Anchor program is to have the mentor contact the Sailor at least once per month for a full year. Cullen stays in contact with Hancock well beyond the minimum requirements.
"I contact Steven at least on a daily basis. According to Steven, the mentor program has turned more into a father/son relationship," Cullen said.
The relationship between Cullen and Hancock grew as the mentorship continued.
"We talk about what he does on a daily basis and what his short term and long term goals are," Cullen said. "I have helped and guided him with his first new home purchase and then helped move his belongings."
The Navy Safe Harbor Anchor Program is unique to each individual and Cullen is proud to be a part of it.
"I love the Mentor Program, I love being able to keep reminding wounded warriors that they are still part of the Navy and that the Navy has not forgotten them," Cullen said.
Navy Safe Harbor is the Navy's lead organization for coordinating the non-medical care of seriously wounded, ill and injured Sailors, Coast Guardsmen and their family members. Navy Safe Harbor provides a lifetime of assistance designed for the member's recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration activities that include the Adaptive Athletic Reconditioning program. This program includes enrollees to participate in the Warrior Games.
Navy Safe Harbor is continuously looking for senior mentors to volunteer to be a part of the Anchor Program to support wounded warriors transition from the active service to the civilian communities. To learn more about being a mentor, contact the coordinator at 703-692-2186, visit the Navy Safe Harbor web site, www.safeharbor.navy.mil or email inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.