RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Dozens of wounded veterans learned new lessons about safely handling firearms, while forging new bonds with other injured service members. Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) took the men and women to the Riverside Indoor Shooting Range recently to shoot and support each other.
WWP’s Alumni program provides occasions like this to help encourage camaraderie among injured veterans. They already share experiences from their time in active military duty. Sharing new experiences through get-togethers, sporting events, service opportunities, and concerts can help them form a new support structure. The Alumni program is one of 20 life-saving programs and services provided to today’s generation of wounded veterans, free of charge.
“I really enjoyed how everyone interacted with each other at the range,” David Chavez, a WWP Alumnus and military veteran, said.
Jeffrey Ramirez is an Army veteran and WWP Alumnus. For him, the day was special. “The range provided us with immersion therapy and gave some of us back what we have longed for during our time in service,” Jeffrey said. “You can see in the eyes of the members the therapeutic effect and the calm sense that comes from remembering what it was like to be a soldier again.”
While members of the military are taught about firearms and safe-handling, through this event even some of the injured veterans learned something new.
“I learned how the trigger on a revolver is much more sensitive than a semi-automatic,” David said.
WWP sees the importance of family in a wounded veteran’s recovery, so many of the programs and events are designed for not just registered veterans or Alumni, but also for families and caregivers, when appropriate.
“A highlight for me was watching my wife fire a shotgun for the first time and everyone cheering and complimenting her,” David said. “The expression on her face as she turned after taking the shot was priceless; she was filled with joy from experiencing something she had never tried before.”
WWP listens to the needs of our more than 81,000 registered Alumni and more than 14,000 caregivers and family support members. WWP recently released its 2015 annual Alumni Survey. Read the results or download the executive summary at woundedwarriorproject.org/survey.