PEARLAND, Texas (March 21, 2016) — There are fewer festive ways to bring couples together than with brushes, ready palettes, a whirlwind of bold colors, and the promise of a masterpiece. Recently, Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) hosted wounded veterans and their mates for Texas couples painting in Pearland.
The group of WWP Alumni and their mates enjoyed not only brightening their canvases by using their own talents, but also games—including music trivia—and a prize raffle. A unique surprise of the event was the “conjoined” aspect of the paintings so that the paired pieces from each spouse came together to create a whole called a “diptych.” The Alumni event provided the perfect opportunity for combat veterans and their spouses to mingle with attendees who share similar experiences.
The WWP Alumni program is one of 20 direct programs and services offered to injured service members and their families – free of charge. One of WWP’s goals is to provide wounded veterans with the opportunity for bonding and camaraderie, where experiences can be shared with those who have endured similar challenges. In the healing and recovery process, these opportunities are essential.
Eugene Vecera, retired Army Reserve veteran and WWP Alumnus, said he would do the event again. “To me and my wife’s surprise, we enjoyed creating our painting immensely! By following directions, we actually produced a worthy diptych,” said Eugene.
For Eugene and his wife, the social aspect was a highlight of the night. “We enjoyed meeting the Marine couple next to us, and the interaction with the WWP mentors.”
Army veteran and WWP Alumnus Tim Stroud immediately felt welcome by the painting staff and was pleasantly surprised by the prizes. “I love the WWP apron,” Tim said. “I participated in the music trivia and totally rocked it! I wound up winning a glass for first place. It was a good activity to keep things flowing while everyone was painting.”
Tim said a high point of the event for him was connecting with other injured service members. “One of them brought his service dog, and I enjoyed their interaction with the group. I met some interesting veterans that I've already reached out to in the Houston area.”
For Eugene and Tim, WWP represents meaningful chances to personally evolve and connect with other wounded veterans and their families in different stages of transition.
Eugene said, “WWP has added a unique dimension to our lives from meeting such outstanding people--both military and civilian. WWP activities have been a great way for us to grow together with other veterans and achieve our highest potential.”
Tim, who has triumphed with his own personal fitness goals, agreed. “I am very thankful for the opportunity to network with other veterans and see how they are doing on their journey. I'm on a road to recovery, and I need the positive interaction with others who have served,” he said.
Painting night participants received an overview of the 20 free programs and services WWP offers. One of the programs WWP offers to injured service members free of charge is the Physical Health and Wellness program (PH&W): http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/programs/physical-health-wellness.aspx. Through high-touch, interactive events, wounded veterans and their families engage in impactful programs that lead to positive, active lifestyles. In February 2016 alone, the PH&W program positively impacted 905 injured service members and their families.