LAS VEGAS, Dec. 6, 2017 -- Whether it's young entrepreneurs, college students, or corporate executives, the supporters of Wounded Warrior Project®(WWP) come from all walks of life. Big or small, their support enables WWP to connect wounded veterans with programs and services that empower them to live their lives on their terms. Recently, Las Vegas-based magician Mike Hammer hosted a celebrity go-kart race to raise awareness and support for the warriors WWP serves.
Mike's father served in the military – in 1958, he was deployed to Korea. That service, along with Mike's prior philanthropic work in the Las Vegas community, moved him to give back to WWP.
"I first heard of Wounded Warrior Project when I volunteered my time to meet up with some wounded veterans and show them close-up magic," Mike said. "I performed card tricks and some other tricks I like to do during acts. We got to talking about our backgrounds, and they spoke of their service. I was very impressed with the stories of these veterans and what they had been through. I wanted to do something for them and make a difference."
WINTER PARK, Fla., Dec. 1, 2017 -- Injured veterans, their families, and guests recently participated in a Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) connection event where they learned how to paddleboard. As the lessons progressed from onshore to the lake, apprehension quickly faded as participants gained confidence using their new skills.
Wife and husband warriors Rebecca (Navy) and Bo Benton (Marine Corps) realized the importance of slowing down and enjoying the moment.
"This has become important in both our recoveries, as we are dual warriors and can get lost in either our own struggles or our partner's," Rebecca said. "Wounded Warrior Project has been beneficial in giving us opportunities, like paddleboarding, to make memories with our children and each other, while learning new coping skills in the process."
OHIOPYLE, Pa., Nov. 30, 2017 -- Veterans got physical on a recent Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) hike at beautiful Ohiopyle State Park. Warriors trekked to Cucumber Falls and then on to Great Gorge Trail – totaling close to five miles.
"It's a great opportunity to get out and spend time with other veterans and to challenge yourself to accomplish goals you thought you couldn't," said Navy veteran Jason Miller. "It was a workout, but fun, challenging, and a great experience." Jason also said this event encouraged him to participate in other WWP connection events.
WWP program events like this give wounded warriors an opportunity to experience veteran peer support firsthand. These social gatherings get them out of the house and connect them with fellow service members and their communities.
COLUMBIA, S.C., Nov. 29, 2017 -- Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) veterans and their family members answered the call for help from those in need by volunteering with Harvest Hope Food Bank. Volunteers fed the hungry across 20 South Carolina counties and helped their community by distributing food and offering emotional support to area residents this holiday season.
"Helping at a food bank is something I have wanted to do for a long time," said Laura Efrid, wife of an Army veteran, "but I was always unable to because of my schedule. It was a very rewarding experience and has me thinking about volunteering at a smaller local food bank."
WEEKI WACHEE, Fla., Nov. 28, 2017 -- Environmentally conscious injured veterans recently scoured the banks and tributaries of the Weeki Wachee River for debris with Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP). This effort is tied to a broader, statewide River Cleanup of Florida campaign designed to protect Florida's waterways and communities.
The gathering served as an opportunity for wounded warriors to connect with their community while feeling empowered through helping others.
"Wounded Warrior Project has helped me and my family do things together," said Navy veteran Jason Lowe. "It has given us the time to relax, make new friends, and enjoy life again."
WASHINGTON, Nov. 20, 2017 -- Fifteen veteran and military service organizations have joined a coalition led by Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) to urge Congress to quickly pass S. 2117, the Fair Access to Insurance for Retired (FAIR) Heroes Act. Introduced by Sens. Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), the FAIR Heroes Act will provide the most severely injured warriors the ability to choose between Medicare and TRICARE, a choice they've earned through their service that could save their families over $1,000 each year in premiums alone.
The FAIR Heroes Act is supported by a coalition of veteran and military family organizations including the Air Force Association, Association of the United States Army, Association of the United States Navy, AMVETS, Army Aviation Association of America, Chief Warrant & Warrant Officers Association of the U.S. Coast Guard, Got Your 6™, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Military Order of the Purple Heart, Military Officers Association of America®, the National Military Family Association, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Service Women's Action Network, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Vietnam Veterans of America®.
PITTSBURGH, Nov. 20, 2017 -- Pittsburgh residents will have a chance to rally behind local community foundations and support their favorite charity on Nov. 28. "Give Big" is returning to Pittsburgh, and Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) will be among the nonprofits registered to participate in the 24-hour online giving challenge.
WWP programs and services assist injured veterans with mental health, physical health and wellness, career and benefits counseling, connecting warriors with one another and their communities, and long-term care for the most seriously wounded. Generous donors make it possible for wounded warriors to take part in connection activities and benefit from program resources at no cost to them.
HONOLULU, Nov. 14, 2017 -- Injured veterans may have walked in empty-handed, but by the end of a recent series of classes with Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP), they left with electric guitars they built on their own.
These WWP gatherings empowered veterans to explore the unique hobby of building an electric guitar while sharing their everyday experiences with one another.
During each six-hour course, warriors received kits with all the supplies and materials needed to build their very own Stratocaster-style electric guitar. In addition to learning how to make the instrument, they reviewed basic care and maintenance and gained an understanding of the different parts and functions of the instrument.
Dionisios Nicholas, a Marine Corps veteran, said this event happened at the perfect time since he is also learning to play guitar.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Nov. 10, 2017 -- At age 83, Paris-born Bernard Darty feels fortunate to enjoy time with his family and spend winters in Miami Beachnearly three-quarters of a century after escaping Nazi invaders in France as a child. Although he lost his mother to the Auschwitz concentration camp, today he is so moved with gratitude for the American troops who liberated him in Normandy in 1944 that he has made a significant donation of $500,000 to Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) this Veterans Dayto help U.S. veterans and their families—hoping to trigger a new movement of supporting American veterans.
"In giving this donation, I want to thank Americans with all my heart for rescuing us during the war," Darty said. "The gratitude I feel to these men is beyond words. They were saviors, doling out sweets to half-starved, war-worn children who had almost given up hope of freedom. That is why I want to support American veterans—and why I support America. I hope my donation inspires others to do the same."
PITTSBURGH, Nov. 10, 2017 -- Bike Pittsburgh (BikePGH) will collaborate with Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) for the second consecutive year to host a Veterans Day bike ride followed by the Pittsburgh Veterans Day Parade, tomorrow. It will be a 22-kilometer (13.7 mile) bike ride for veterans registered with WWP. The significance of the number represents the approximately 22 veterans who take their lives each day.
In a WWP survey of the injured warriors it serves, 30.3 percent of survey respondents expressed physical activity helps them cope with stress and emotional or mental health concerns. This ride aims to raise awareness for veterans' mental health while providing a positive social experience and physical activity for wounded warriors before they head out to the Veterans Day Parade.