WESTMINSTER, Calif., Feb. 7, 2018 -- Veterans gathered to bond and learn the basics of curling, one of America's fastest-growing sports, at a recent Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) event. Curling teams slide 42-pound polished granite stones (known as rocks) from one end of a sheet of ice toward the "house," their target, at the other end. Warriors learned some of the rules and strategy used in curling and took them to the ice to play the game. The sport can be played by anyone, no matter their physical ability.
"This sport has a calming effect on me," said Navy veteran Lisa Kukula. "I also was happy to see that my fellow warriors at all levels of physical fitness and abilities were able to participate with me in the curling lesson without any special equipment."
WWP program events like this give wounded warriors an opportunity to relax, learn something new, and experience veteran peer support firsthand. These gatherings connect them with fellow service members and their communities.
DALLAS, Feb. 7, 2018 -- Jarrod Tallman is proof that persistence pays off. The Marine Corps veteran ran into roadblocks while transitioning from military life to a civilian career. He had the experience from his 11 years in the military. He had the education. What he did not have was a career fit. But 11 years after his military service ended because of injury, Jarrod says he has new purpose.
"I haven't had a job I thoroughly enjoyed since 2012," Jarrod said.
He is now the Director of Purchasing for UT Southwestern Medical Center. It is a job he originally had not considered as a "veteran job."
"I had zero medical background. But I did have a background in supply, logistics, and management." Those skills – sharpened during his Marine career – made Jarrod an ideal job candidate, but he needed encouragement.
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.
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."
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.
TAMPA, Fla., Jan. 29, 2018 -- Injured veterans and their families recently enjoyed a day of bowling, billiards, music, magic, crafts, and pizza with Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP). The gathering provided an opportunity for warriors' families to play, get to know each other, and even reconnect with old friends in a comfortable environment.
"Wounded Warrior Project staff motivated me to get involved," said Army veteran Gary Garcia. "It gave me some time to interact with family and friends, have fun, and feel that sense of camaraderie again as I joked around with other warriors. This event helped me socialize, have a great time with my wife, and, as a warrior, it helped me continue my recovery."
HOUSTON, Jan. 27, 2018 -- Recovering veterans have many types of exercise to choose from, and indoor rock climbing is one of the most exhilarating. Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) recently gave warriors the opportunity to experience this therapeutic, empowering, and easy method of exercise, in a group setting.
"I enjoyed indoor rock climbing because it brought back positive memories of being in the Arabian Desert," said Air Force veteran Jermain Collins. "It's where I first experienced rock climbing. My fellow soldiers and I climbed small rock faces to get better views of the desert, ancient tombs, and rock carvings; all of which were amazing sights that few people ever have a chance to see."
A typical bouldering gym uses no ropes, and the walls are usually 10 to 14 feet tall. Although indoor rock climbing can be done alone, a group setting is preferred because peer support plays an important part in contributing to increased confidence and enjoyment while exercising and learning new skills.
HOLLYWOOD, Fla., Jan. 26, 2018 -- Injured veterans and their guests learned the old-world art of glassblowing at a recent Wounded Warrior Project®(WWP) event. Warriors socialized and learned how to create one-of-a-kind holiday ornaments with the help of local glassblowers.
"Wounded Warrior Project gave me the opportunity to get out more, practice some of my therapy, and do things I may never have thought of doing on my own," said Air Force veteran Don Tucker. "This glassblowing class fits in that last category. I was able to take my wife and daughter, and we had a great time."
The main tool used for glassblowing is a four-foot long iron or steel blowpipe. The glassblower, called a gaffer, dips the blowpipe into a furnace to capture a glob of molten glass on one end and then manipulates the rod and glass at a workstation to produce a unique creation.
SAN DIEGO, Jan. 22, 2018 -- At a Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) dumbbell and kettlebell lifting clinic, injured veterans and their families learned how to use minimal equipment to create a well-rounded workout.
WWP Physical Health and Wellness events connect warriors with training, skills, and techniques that empower them to reduce stress, combat depression, and live an overall healthy and active lifestyle.
"It was more strenuous than anticipated, but everyone encouraged each other," said Army veteran Christopher Kojima. "The instructor was excellent and walked everyone through the movements properly. He adjusted to everyone's needs quickly. I certainly plan to use these skills again and get more exercise."
JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Jan. 19, 2018 -- In an effort to combat what can be an emotionally difficult holiday season, Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) dedicated five days to a Warrior Wellness Telethon, reaching nearly 800 injured veterans and caregivers. The week-long endeavor was an extension of Operation Outreach, a unique WWP program involving every teammate – including WWP CEO Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Mike Linnington.
Through Operation Outreach, WWP teammates regularly check in with registered wounded warriors, family members, and caregivers through wellness calls during their birth months. This form of support ensures they have everything they need on their roads to recovery.