NEW YORK, Dec. 8, 2016 -- Motorcyclists and mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters were united in their enthusiasm for warriors of the road and the ring at a series of Veterans Day gatherings hosted by Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) in partnership with Harley-Davidson® and the UFC®. WWP program events like this give wounded warriors an opportunity to rediscover the spirit of camaraderie they enjoyed during their military service – in a safe, fun atmosphere.
However, Ahmad Azmi, a Navy veteran and wounded warrior who is a self-professed UFC fanatic, said the atmosphere on Friday would've been best described as "electric."
KANSAS CITY, Kan., Dec. 7, 2016 -- For many warriors, the experiences they had in the military were some of the best of their lives – filled with fellowship, meaning, and direction. To help wounded veterans connect with others who have similar military backgrounds, Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) hosted a motorcycle riding event in the Kansas City area.
One of the participants, Army veteran Ismael Alvarez, had attended WWP gatherings before – but nothing quite like this. A warrior he met at an event hosted by another veterans service organization pointed him toward WWP and its unique approach to empowering warriors to live life on their own terms.
LAS VEGAS (Dec. 5, 2016) – It was the 364th hand of the final table when Qui Nguyen (fittingly pronounced “win”) beat out Gordon Vayo to take the title of champion at The World Series of Poker®. Qui, a former nail salon owner, endured nine grueling hours of one-on-one play to take home over $8 million in winnings and the coveted gold bracelet.
Gathered behind him in the stands was his family – all wearing matching shirts emblazoned with Qui’s name, face, and now-iconic raccoon hat. And the arm sleeve displayed another graphic of importance to the Nguyen family – the logo of Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP).
VICTORIA, Minn., Dec. 2, 2016 -- It was lock and load for a group of wounded veterans, steeling themselves against the cool autumn air at Marsh Lake Hunting Club. Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) brought them together to enjoy a day of duck and pheasant hunting, as well as clay pigeon shooting.
Army veteran Joseph Hill arrived at the hunting club to find familiar faces, both among the staff and the warriors – it was not his first WWP rodeo. Still, the few new faces in the crowd gave him a familiar sense of nervousness, something he experienced at his first WWP gathering.
COLUMBIA, S.C., Dec. 2, 2016 -- A group of injured veterans learned all about the art of glassblowing during a recent Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) program event in Columbia, South Carolina. During the workshop, warriors experienced what is possible when exposed to social events that get them out of the house and engaged with fellow service members.
Participants learned about the ancient craft as a lead glassblower – or gaffer – explained each step of forming colorful and unique items out of molten globs of silica. Then, warriors got involved in the creative process as each one took a turn picking up the large blowpipe.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Nov. 21, 2016 -- As an 11-year Army veteran who served two tours in Iraq, Yvette Francis was certainly familiar with Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP). In fact, she had crossed paths with the organization more than once.
"I was first told about Wounded Warrior Project back in 2009 when I returned home from Iraq the second time," she said. "I remember getting a pretty shirt, but I figured the organization was probably just something for people who are still in the military. I didn't take it seriously."
TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Nov. 21, 2016 -- From nori to bamboo mats to the perfect sticky rice, there is great effort that goes into the art of making sushi. A group of Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) veterans recently learned all about it during a cooking class in Tallahassee. Participants experienced firsthand what is possible when exposed to social events that get them out of the house and connected with fellow warriors.
Once warriors and guests chose from a variety of ingredients to customize their sushi rolls, culinary instructors provided tools and the guidance for the group to create their delicacies.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska, Nov. 18, 2016 -- Under the sea is a whole new world waiting to be experienced. During a recent Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) outreach event, a group of injured veterans learned how to explore it in a scuba diving class. They also discovered what is possible when exposed to social gatherings that get them out of the house and connected with fellow warriors.
Participants took part in an introductory course for diving with the use of a self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (scuba). Gathering in a swimming pool, the warriors were properly fitted with gear, and they explored underwater with teachers from the Professional Association of Diving Instructors®.
HOUSTON, Nov. 18, 2016 -- Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) took a group of warriors and their families to pay tribute to the fallen on Veterans Day. The gathering provides an opportunity for veterans to not only reflect on their brothers and sisters who made the ultimate sacrifice but also forge friendships with other warriors who have shared experiences.
In a WWP survey of the injured warriors it serves, more than half of survey respondents (51.7 percent) talked with fellow Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, or Operation New Dawn veterans to address their mental health issues.