When Raymond Crites, Company A, Warrior Transition Battalion, first began archery as a fitness and wellness excursion nearly 18 months ago, he was a rookie who knew nothing about the sport. Now, Crites helps teach archery to other WTB Soldiers and their Family members.
He also helps maintain the bows, fletch (stabilize) arrows to increase accuracy and reconfigure vanes for maximum performance.
“It’s (archery) actually a massive stress reliever,” said Crites. “As an NCO (staff sergeant), I love teaching people,” he added.
Archery is one of several activities offered to WTB service members through the Adaptive Reconditioning Program, said Robyn Womac-Fortin, ARP, site coordinator, WTB.
Others include rowing, high intensity interval training, aquatics, cycling, walking and running, boccia, wheelchair basketball and yoga.
The program supports the well-being of wounded, ill and injured Soldiers and touches on the six domains of strength — physical, social, Family, emotional, career and spiritual.
On a recent Thursday, Adam Harley joined other WTB Soldiers for a little friendly archery competition at Clark Park in Fayetteville.
Archery is held there through partnership with Fayetteville Parks and Recreation, said Jeremy Mincey, athletic coordinator.
“It’s getting me out into nature. It’s actually helping me to socialize more and it’s soothing,” said Harley, a 16-year Army veteran who plans to medically retire in June.
Gerardo Matos-Negro, noncommissioned officer in charge, helps address the Family domain by taking his daughter, Mia, 10, to archery events with WTB Soldiers.
“When you bring a child to them, they open up more; they start talking more. It brings that confidence to the Soldier that they can continue mentoring to people,” he explained.
Overall, the WTB has been instrumental in the progression from duty to medical retirement, said Gabriel Whittaker, who has participated in an internship with Homeland Security and will separate from the military in July.
“It set me up pretty well as far as resources,” he said.
WTB does what it is designed to do — facilitate a higher quality of life for service members.
“ARP contributes to successful recoveries for Soldiers by finding their new normal, whether they are transitioning back to active duty or civilian life,” said Womac-Fortin.
For more information about the WTB and its services, call 907-5219 or visit www.wamc.amedd.army.mil/WTB/SitePages/Home.aspx.