News: Fort Worth District helps Wounded Warrior on road to recovery
Story by Denisha Braxton
In October 2008, Allan Annaert began working for the Corps of Engineers, Fort Worth District as a part time project engineer on the San Antonio Military Medical Center North project. However Annaert’s path to the Corps began as a patient at the very facility he would eventually work.
Annaert was evacuated from Iraq in April 2008 to Brooke Army Medical Center after being burned on a portion of his left side, receiving multiple fractures to his legs, hip, and arm, and suffering damage to his ears from an IED attack. There he received treatment for his injuries and was later assigned to the Warrior Transition Unit.
As a veteran of five tours in Iraq, Annaert completed his inpatient stay at BAMC and continued his recovery as a full time outpatient until September 2008. During this time he was assigned to the Joint Program Management Office as part of the Army WTU occupational therapy program.
“I was very fortunate that the transition was fairly smooth, I had the same job and responsibilities but no longer wore the uniform,” said the Collinsville, Ill. native.
Earlier in his career with the Corps, Annaert was managing 20 hours a week at work with the remainder of his work day spent in physical therapy. When he wasn’t putting in work in his physical wellness program, Allan had to undergo numerous surgeries.
“The WTU helped me greatly during my recovery. The NCOs and Civilians ensured that my family and I were aware of the programs available to support wounded warriors. They coordinated many of the logistics necessary to ensure a smooth transition from a deployment,” added Annaert.
In 2010, Annaert was discharged from the Army and became a full time civil service employee. When he’s not spending time with his family, Annaert enjoys tending to his garden growing tomatoes and other vegetables.
Using his skills and educational background in Civil Engineering from the University of Missouri-Rolla, Annaert moved to the Contract Administration Branch in October 2012 where he focuses on preparing and executing construction contract modifications.
The former Army Staff Sgt. handles day-to-day duties such as preparing construction cost estimates, analyzing contractor proposals, negotiating contract changes and assisting quality assurance representatives , project engineers and resident engineers.
“Despite being a Corps employee for only five years, Allan has quickly become one of my best engineers. Allan has a rare combination of intelligence, military and life experience, and common sense. I have given him some of the more complex, highly visible assignments and he has come through for me every time,” said Thomas Smiley, area engineer, South Texas Area Office.
Although working with physical disabilities, Annaert’s resilience doesn’t let that stop him from working on some of the District’s critical military missions in San Antonio, including the basic training facility for the Department of Defense medical personnel and being able to provide for other wounded warriors, building DOD’s only burn center.
“The Warrior in Transition Unit along with medical professionals allowed me to make a nearly full recovery from the injuries I received. When I started working with the Corps, I still occasionally had to use a cane to get around, now I can get around almost as well as anyone.”