Chicago (February 22, 2016) – Sleeping with the fishes usually comes with a more serious connotation, but thanks to an Alumni program event hosted by Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP), the definition may have just changed. The Shedd Aquarium in Chicago recently hosted 68 injured service members and their families for a sleepover event, which included exhibit tours and a dolphin show, where attendees learned more about the sea-dwelling mammals and their trainers.
“The dolphin show was a ton of fun for the kids,” said WWP Alumnus Anthony Martinez. “We learned a lot about how intelligent they are and about the training they go through. The trainers were very insightful and eager to put on a good show for us.”
WWP Alumni also got their hands wet with an interactive stingray tank and a 4-D movie about sea monsters, which featured interactive effects such as vibrating chairs, misting water, and 3-D visuals. The gathering gave injured service members and their families a chance to create memories and bond.
“We felt as if we had the entire aquarium to ourselves. We could venture off and experience the Shedd Aquarium without being rushed or crowded,” said Martinez. “The activities and exhibits were perfect for our children, and their little feet had time to rest while they watched a 4-D Sea Monsters film. They loved the special effects of the film!”
Events like this are part of the WWP Alumni program, which creates support through shared experiences and builds camaraderie by bringing injured veterans together to connect with other wounded veterans and family support members. Many wounded service members face similar challenges adjusting to their injuries and civilian life. By bonding through events these veterans learn they are not alone and have the chance to grow closer to those around them.
“It was a late night, but I was just glad to spend time with my wife and two kids,” said Martinez.
The Alumni program is one of 20 free programs and services WWP offers wounded veterans, caregivers, and families. WWP’s Benefits Service is another WWP program that helps injured veterans, family members, and caregivers navigate the complexities of the Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). WWP’s Benefits Service team works closely with both agencies so they can walk Alumni, family members, and caregivers through every step of the transition process and ensure that claims are filed and processed correctly the first time.
Since being founded in 2003, WWP has evolved its programs and services to meet the growing needs of the constituency it serves. Through a high-touch and interactive approach, the WWP vision is to foster the most successful, well-adjusted generation of wounded service members in our nation’s history.