SAN DIEGO, Calif. – The forecast called for temperatures in the upper fifties and a forty percent chance of rain. But what more than one hundred wounded veterans and their families experienced was a little more of a wintry mix. Snow, in the form of soap bubbles, and formed soap-flakes floated over crowds entering PetCo Park Friday night.
Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) made the night possible for these families to help the healing process for injured veterans. WWP’s vision is to foster the most successful, well-adjusted generation of wounded service members in our nation’s history. WWP recognizes the important role family plays in a wounded veteran’s recovery, so many events are planned to involve spouses and children.
The Holiday Wonderland provided the perfect atmosphere for families who wore jackets, and in some cases gloves to brave the chill at PetCo Park in downtown San Diego.
Scottie Smith served in the Navy and is a WWP Alumnus. “Dealing with cancer this year has been tough, but it is always nice to see other families going through similar issues, and know we are not alone,” Scottie said.
Candyland, an area decorated with bright pastel colors, lights, large candy canes and sweet-themed ornaments lit up children’s eyes. The personal visits with costumed characters sparked their imaginations. But what you noticed when you walked in the room caught everyone’s attention; the area of the ballpark turned winter wonderland actually smelled like candy.
“We may have walked through Candyland more than once,” Scottie said.
As you walked through the park, wounded veterans and their families experienced slides, an area with icy snow for kids to play in, and even an opportunity to take pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Families also had a chance to ride an inflated inner tube down an ice-slide in an area that is normally the outfield for San Diego Padres games.
“WWP means a lot to my family and I,” Scottie said. “It gives us a chance to enjoy things that maybe we normally wouldn’t have the opportunity to, and it reminds us to have fun.”