PHILADELPHIA, (March 23, 2016) – There is a reason to send flowers to friends and family when they’re not feeling well, having a bad day, or to celebrate an occasion – flowers raise the spirits. During the Philadelphia Flower Show, wounded veterans and their families explored the venue of floral displays, after an invitation from Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP). The 2016 Flower Show theme of honoring our national parks exposed guests to the variety and vast beauty found in the great outdoors.
“As soon as you walked in the aroma of the flowers and vibrant colors took your breath away and diminished any remaining ‘winter funk,’” said Anja Mizner, spouse and caregiver of a wounded veteran and WWP Alumnus. “When you go from exhibit to exhibit and then realize almost everything is made of flowers and plants, it makes you appreciate the countless hours the florists must have spent to make the displays so stunning.”
Over 100 WWP Alumni and family members toured acres of trails and attractions of wildflowers, desert blooms, coastal flora, verdant meadows, fragrant pinelands, and ancient redwoods, during the WWP Alumni event. The WWP Alumni program is one of the 20 direct programs and services available free of charge to wounded veterans, their caregivers, and family support members. The Alumni program creates support through shared experiences and brings injured veterans together to build camaraderie. By bonding through events and programs, wounded veterans learn they are not alone.
As a mother and full-time caregiver to her veteran spouse, Anja said they’re thankful to attend the Flower Show this year. “There was an area for younger children to explore. However, it was very enjoyable to have a ‘day date’ without our children.”
Just being surrounded by beauty and nature heals the mind and heart. The flowers and plants throughout the various exhibits were symmetrical, yet natural, offering a balance between freedom and order.
“The exhibit area was large, but still very crowded from time to time,” Anja commented. “For my husband, as well as other WWP Alumni, it was necessary to take a break and avoid the larger crowds for a while. There were areas to retreat and sit or to get a snack, drink, or even lunch.”
Anja appreciates her experience at the Flower Show and being engaged with WWP overall. “All in all, we are so blessed to have Wounded Warrior Project in our lives. Without the support received through WWP and their help teaching us how to deal with a lot of issues during our transition, I don't think we would have ever been able to attend this amazing event. WWP has had such a huge impact on our lives and we are very grateful. Giving us a piece of ‘normal’ means so much.”
More than 100,000 wounded veterans, caregivers, and family members receive access to WWP programs and services, all of which are free of charge. During February 2016, WWP engaged 25,853 wounded veterans through various programs, services, and outreach interactions.
Most recently, WWP launched Warrior Care Network™, a $100 million investment to battle the invisible wounds of war and reach those who might otherwise go untreated. This is a first-of-its-kind partnership between WWP and four national academic medical centers of excellence including Emory Healthcare, Massachusetts General Hospital, Rush University Medical Center, and UCLA Health to connect thousands of injured warriors with world-class care. To learn more visit www.woundedwarriorproject.org/programs/warrior-care-network.aspx.