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HIGHLIGHTS ARCHIVE

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Feb. 15, 2018 -- Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) headquarters hosted Soldier Ride® recently, giving warriors from all over the East coast a chance to enjoy three days of adaptive, rehabilitative cycling. For 15 years, this program has traveled the country, connecting groups of local wounded veterans to ride together as units, just like in their military service.

Michael Vouros, a wounded Air Force veteran, had only attended one WWP event before Soldier Ride Jacksonville. Project Odyssey®, an outdoor rehabilitative mental health workshop, changed his world completely.

"I had my doubts at first, with it being my first event with Wounded Warrior Project," Michael said. "Project Odyssey totally exceeded my expectations. The white-water rafting, rock climbing, and ropes course really made me step outside my comfort zone. I had some great talks – a lot of people are in the same boat. You can really connect with people on those terms."

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TAMPA, Fla., Feb. 14, 2018 -- Ron Holton nearly dropped the phone in excitement when he received the big news from Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) staff. Clinton McDonald, a Tampa Bay Buccaneer defense tackle and longtime supporter of WWP, gave Ron, a Marine Corps veteran, and his wife two tickets to Super Bowl LII. And WWP partner USAA® covered the entire cost of Ron's trip – flights, accommodations, and game tickets.  

"Me and my wife were watching football at the time," Ron said. "And when I heard the news, I handed my wife the phone and took off running around the house, yelling in excitement – I couldn't believe it."

For Ron, the game was more than just checking an item off his bucket list – it was a special reminder of the care WWP has provided him during recent challenges and hardships in his life.

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Feb. 14, 2018 -- Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) invited injured veterans and their guests to make multi-flavored lollipops by hand. Sweet Pete's confection specialists taught candy-making techniques, and the candy shop and its customers prepared other surprises to thank warriors for their military service and sacrifice.

"Wounded Warrior Project events like this allow me to connect with other veterans," said Army veteran Adam Bagby. "I get to see how different vets react to different situations. When you have everybody come together, you can share what you felt and experienced. That's what it's all about."

Besides their own edible creations, warriors received candy boxes full of Sweet Pete's products, as well as homemade Valentine's Day cards from the store's customers. The heartfelt cards, from both children and adults, thank veterans for their service to their country and express how proud they are of our nation's warriors.

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SARASOTA, Fla., Feb. 14, 2018 -- At a recent Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) mental health workshop in Tampa, Florida, a group of women veterans received critical peer support from a fellow female warrior who experienced similar hurdles after military service. These workshops include teambuilding exercises and goal-setting agendas that help warriors in their recovery processes – even after they've gone home. These gatherings are often the first time warriors leave their homes to connect with others in their communities.

"These opportunities are invaluable for female injured veterans," said Kendra Simpkins, U.S. Army veteran and WWP Peer Support warrior mentor. "There are so few women warriors, but we all share a common bond – learning to cope with similar struggles. It's important for us to find opportuntities that will build a strong support system among each other."

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Feb. 13, 2018 -- Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the Southeast came together at a recent event hosted by Adamec Harley-Davidson® in support of Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP). Riders participated in a poker run, a multi-stop bike tour where each rider received a playing card at each respective stop. Matching the rules of poker, the rider with the best poker hand at the end of the ride won a prize.

"We had 145 riders come out from different chapters in the region, including Georgia, North Carolina, and South Florida," said Missy Rivera, events coordinator at Adamec Harley-Davidson. "Everyone looked like they had a great time – at the end when the poker hands were shown was very exciting. And a lot of our riders really enjoyed getting to see where Wounded Warrior Project's headquarters is located."

Adamec Harley-Davidson has been a supporter of WWP for years, including providing an internship to a warrior served by WWP through Warriors to Work®.

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SOUTH CHINA, Maine, Feb. 13, 2018 -- Injured veterans and their families recently learned how to create one-of-a-kind paintings with the help of local artists. They connected with one another and painted winter-themed scenes with Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP).  

"The paint night was an event we've never done before as a couple, and we thoroughly enjoyed spending that time together," said Jennifer Hall, wife of Army veteran Joseph. "Our schedules are always so full that we seldom take time to do something together. We learned a little more about one another and now have a great memory to hang on the wall from the event."

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PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla., Feb. 12, 2018 -- Female family members of injured veterans gathered for a special weekend with Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP). The ladies participated in bonding activities and workshops geared toward teaching new methods for aiding their warrior's recovery, both physically and mentally.

"My husband and I love Wounded Warrior Project and the support network they've helped us build," said Erin Inman, wife of Army veteran Andrew. "They've helped me cope with everything and gave my warrior the opportunity to participate in Soldier Ride® and some of their Physical Health and Wellness gatherings."

Following a tour of WWP headquarters, the women got to know each other through ice breakers and team-building activities. They also participated in empowering health care classes, including a hands-on essential oil workshop designed to help them with message therapy sessions for their warriors.

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PHOENIX, Jan. 31, 2018 -- Injured veterans, family members, and guests learned how to create favorite seasonal dishes with a healthy twist during a cooking class with Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) at Fry's Food Stores.

"My husband and I want to eat and live healthier during 2018," said Crystal Johnson, wife of Army veteran Matthew. "We've been to two classes and gained professional insight about what you can and cannot substitute in your regular dishes to make them healthier. I loved this class because we weren't judged for what we do or don't know about cooking."

Warriors and their guests learned how to make roasted organic chicken breast, mashed cauliflower, green beans with mushrooms and walnuts, roasted acorn squash with cinnamon, and pumpkin pudding.

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., Jan. 29, 2018 -- Injured veterans who are writers of all experience levels recently gathered at a Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) writing workshop.  They honed their creative skills, connected with others, and learned how writing can be a healthy outlet for emotions and thoughts.

"I've wanted to write a book for some time," said Marine Corps veteran Barbara Sim, "but I felt stuck and hoped to develop my skills to get things rolling. I attended the workshop to learn more about writing, such as creating an outline, as well as plot and character development."

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Jan. 29, 2018 -- Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) added a career soldier and leader to its Board of Directors with the unanimous election of Command Sgt. Maj. (Ret.) Alonzo Smith.

CSM Smith joined the Army in 1984. During his 33-year career, he rose through the ranks to command sergeant major, a rank that just 1 percent of enlisted service members reach. CSM Smith has deployed around the world and served in combat during Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

His military awards and decorations include the Purple Heart, Distinguished Service Medal, Bronze Star, and several others commensurate with his distinguished career. CSM Smith sustained severe wounds in Afghanistan in 2010, when an 82 mm recoilless rifle round struck his vehicle.

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