SEVEN HILLS, Ohio, June 21, 2017 -- At the end of his career in the United States Marine Corps, Brian Brannigan had achieved the rank of captain. He served in Afghanistan for one tour in 2012 as a combat engineer and wanted to help his brothers and sisters in arms continue their education. He graduated from the University of San Diego with a master's degree in global leadership.
"He achieved it one week before he lost his battle at home," his mother, Diane, said. "He was humble and honorable, and Brian spoke highly of his fellow Marines."
His mother remembers him as dynamic, adventurous, and intelligent, despite his struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Brian used the tools around him to get help – both through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP). He first connected with WWP in 2015 through a golf outing for veterans, where he benefited from the mentorship of other warriors around him.
NEW YORK, June 19, 2017 -- Registration is open for the public to participate in the 10th annual Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) Soldier Ride® Community Rides that will take place in July near New York City. Soldier Ride is a multi-day bicycling event, where injured veterans are challenged to push themselves physically and mentally as they manage visible and invisible wounds of war. And they don't ride alone – they move forward together, as a unit, just like during their military service.
Community Rides are similar – and special in that the public can take part – yet they're more than just a chance to pedal alongside our nation's wounded warriors. Community Rides are an opportunity to show support and raise critical funds that allow WWP to connect warriors with programs and services that empower them to live their lives on their terms, free of charge.
NEW YORK, June 16, 2017 -- At the 2017 Courage Awards and Benefit Dinner, Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) recognized warriors and partners who have dedicated time and effort to change the lives of the warriors served by WWP. Army veteran Brett Miller, who was seriously wounded in 2004, received the highest honor for the evening.
The Courage Award is given to a warrior who embodies the values of WWP. The most humbling part of the award, Brett said, was who chose him to be the recipient.
"It's something that's chosen by your peers," Brett said. "To be chosen among the peers here in this room is unbelievable. I'm beyond honored."
GREENVILLE, N.C., June 14, 2017 -- During a recent military appreciation game, the East Carolina University (ECU) Pirates welcomed Marine Corps veteran Taniki Richards to throw out the first pitch. For Taniki, it was more than just a chance to kick off the baseball game. It was an opportunity to represent the charity she loves – Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP).
"Wounded Warrior Project has been such a blessing to me and my husband, who is my caregiver," Taniki said. "The network of other veterans who have been through what I have been through, who struggle like I do with post-traumatic stress and military sexual trauma, makes me feel like I belong. It makes me whole to spend time with those other warriors, and they're a big part of my recovery."
WWP has served Taniki since 2013, and she continues finding new ways to challenge herself and grow. Like many wounded warriors returning to civilian life, she has set helpful goals for her road to recovery.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla., June 14, 2017 -- Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) announced it is partnering with JLL, a leading global financial and professional services firm specializing in real estate, to help WWP manage its portfolio of 16 offices. The JLL team, led by John Heald and Jordan Fogler, will provide expertise in transaction management, lease administration, business intelligence and organizational strategies. The partnership will improve WWP's ability to support wounded veterans by utilizing JLL's innovative real estate and workplace programs.
"We're always looking for ways to be more efficient with the resources our supporters have entrusted to us," said WWP CEO Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Mike Linnington. "I'm excited to work alongside JLL because, from the beginning, it was clear they believed in our mission to honor and empower Wounded Warriors. JLL's innovative approach will allow Wounded Warrior Project to reduce costs and improve our work environment. This change will not only help the staff but the warriors we serve."
MEDFORD, N.J., June 14, 2017 -- Veterans with service-related health issues received instant relief when Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) held a Benefits Claims Day at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) regional office in New York City.
"My claim was open since 2014," said Cecilia Burgos, U.S. Navy wounded warrior and local Medford, New Jersey, resident. "Three weeks from me working my claim with Wounded Warrior Project, I was sitting in front of the VA representative who would be deciding my case. Four hours later, I had their decision."
Cecilia's approval came with more than $42,000 in retroactive benefits service pay the following day.
CONCORD, N.C., June 14, 2017 -- NASCAR gets the blood pumping for Robert Gers, an Army veteran served by Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP). The sights, sounds, and smells are part and parcel of a beloved sport – and a pastime that gives Robert and his wife, Crystal, something to bond over.
"Watching the races gives me and my wife a chance to re-connect," Robert said. "We both enjoy watching together; throwing popcorn and peanuts at the TV, or each other; or heckling one of our least favorite drivers."
Recently, they experienced the rumble of the engines and cheers of the crowd in person. DEWALT® hosted an event in partnership with WWP, allowing Robert and Crystal to attend the All-Star Race and meet the DEWALT Racing team, including driver Matt Kenseth.
BOSTON, June 14, 2017 -- The numbers are staggering: an estimated 500,000 of today's generation of wounded veterans live with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and as many as 350,000 have traumatic brain injuries (TBI). The need is so great that a tasked federal health system for veterans cannot do it alone. It is why the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) invited Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP), other veterans service organizations, private hospitals, innovators, and health providers to take part in VA Brain Trust 2017.
The two-day event in Boston focused on the challenges of invisible wounds of war, brought ideas to the forefront, and highlighted collaboration between VA and partners.
"Wounded Warrior Project was honored to be invited to take part in VA Brain Trust 2017," said WWP CEO Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Mike Linnington. "We can best help warriors across the country by working together with government, nonprofit, and private sector organizations. Veterans answered the call to serve; now we have to respond to their call for help."
JACKSONVILLE, Fla., June 13, 2017 -- The supporters of Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) come from all walks of life and are of all ages, and their generosity allows WWP to provide free, life-changing programs and services to injured veterans, their caregivers, and family members. Recently, Ashley Walls shared her musical talents as a way to raise awareness and support for the warriors WWP serves. She wrote and released a song called "Don't Go," which she says was inspired by remembering those who have fought – and died – overseas.
"I wanted to show through song how much our soldiers and their families sacrifice for our freedom," Ashley said. "And I wanted to make sure those who serve our country are never forgotten and know how much they're appreciated."
Ashley, like many of WWP's young supporters, has friends and family in the military. Her father, grandfathers, and all her uncles served in various branches of service, along with some of her friends from high school who went on to join the Army and Air Force.
WALKER, Minn., June 13, 2017 -- Larry Jacobson's idea of a "small way to do something" involved bringing an entire community together and opening the doors to his lakeside camp to Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) veterans and their families for a weekend.
The fifth annual Hiawatha Beach Weekend recently brought families together at picturesque Leech Lake. Guided fishing tours, beach volleyball, paddleboarding, boating, horseback riding, hiking trails, bicycling, golf, and swimming were available – all in a relaxing setting that allowed veterans to connect with other warriors and nature.
The Jacobson family blocked the weekend that starts the summer season for veterans and their families. People and local businesses in and around town donated food, gift cards, and their time to show their encouragement for the recovery of warriors with visible and invisible wounds. Twelve local fishing guides gave up business during the opening week of the season to take families on the lake.