REACH offers Wounded Warriors promising futures

19 Dec 2013 | Lance Cpl. Justin Rodriguez

The Marine Corps motto of Semper Fidelis reigns true for those participating in the Reintegrate, Educate and Advance Combatants in Healthcare program at the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune Naval Hospital.

The REACH program assists wounded service members transitioning from active duty to the civilian work force obtain skills for employment.

“This program is giving Marines an opportunity to succeed and still be connected in serving those who serve,” said Navy Capt. David A. Lane, commanding officer of the CLNH.

The program, which is a joint initiative between the Navy Medicine’s Total Force and the Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, gives participants a unique venue to continue federal employment in a medical field post military.

Each program participant transitioning from the military to the civilian job force is assigned a mentor from various medical specialties who provides training, education and coaching.

The REACH program offers 14 career field opportunities at the CLNH. Some fields include dental assistance, diagnostic radiology and medical record management.

“I don’t think anyone ever expected this program to be so big,” said Kevin Kesterson, the Camp Lejeune REACH program career coach and retired command master chief of the CLNH.

The REACH program recently celebrated its second anniversary in November and hopes to keep providing these opportunities for years to come, said Lane.

“This program has made sure Marines’ dreams have come true,” said Staff Sgt. Bradley Whitwell, a patient with Wounded Warrior Battalion. “They’ve given amazing opportunities to Marines who want to serve in the medical field after getting out.”

For more information about the program or to see if you qualify, call 459-3493.