COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., Dec. 28, 2016 -- During a recent Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) outreach event, injured veterans and their families added a personal touch to their holiday decorations by designing cards and ornaments. The kid-friendly event was an opportunity for military families to connect with fellow warriors in their community.
Army veteran Christopher Gorman saw the gathering as a chance to bring his wife and kids to a festive event and spend time with other service members.
"I appreciate any opportunity for my family to connect with others during the holiday season," he said. "Even something as simple as making an ornament can have a positive emotional impact."
JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Dec. 28, 2016 -- As we near 2017, Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) prepares to surpass 100,000 registered warriors – men and women who sacrificed for our country, and who now need our support. Wounded Warrior Project's mission is to honor and empower our nation's wounded warriors, families, and caregivers, and we accomplish it through a connect, serve, and empower model of program delivery.
In 2016, WWP refocused its efforts on connecting warriors with their peers and communities while delivering life-saving programs and services to injured veterans, their caregivers, and families. The veterans' charity served nearly 95,000 warriors and nearly 21,000 family members – providing mental and physical health and wellness services, career and benefits counseling, and critical support for the most severely injured. WWP empowers warriors to live life on their terms and mentor other veterans to do the same.
BALTIMORE, Dec. 27, 2016 -- At the recent Army vs. Navy football game, a group of warriors served by Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) toured the ESPN College GameDay set. The gathering was part of WWP's connection program, which provides opportunities for injured veterans to form bonds in settings that accommodate physical injuries and social anxieties.
"Events like this are a chance to get off the couch and put yourself out there," said Navy veteran Damian Smith. "For me, these gatherings are about connecting with other veterans who likely have shared experiences and shared values. It's laughing about the funny stuff that happened to us and reminiscing about our service. Those are moments that I need in my life."
JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Dec. 23, 2016 -- Coast Guard veteran Darren "Red" Rankin had the look of a kid waking up on Christmas morning when he saw what was stacked in a conference room at Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) headquarters in Jacksonville. DEWALT®, a corporate partner and supporter of WWP, provided a bounty of yellow boxes and packaging, filled with tools and supplies.
"That is amazing," Red said, marveling at the stack of equipment. "That's really amazing." He and his wife began to weep openly, hugging each other. These tools are more than just a donated gift – they are hope for their future.
BRANSON, Mo., Dec. 22, 2016 -- A group of injured veterans and their spouses were treated to the ultimate "dinner and a show" date experience during a recent Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) program event. The couples enjoyed a four-course meal at Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede® as they connected with fellow veterans in their community. While participants dined – without utensils, per Dixie Stampede custom – they enjoyed a holiday-themed live-action show, featuring more than 30 horses, trick riders, stunts, and musical performances.
Dustin Baggs, a retired Army combat engineer, said he and his wife were excited about the opportunity to attend the connection gathering. Having gone through five surgeries in the past year, he said it was a welcome chance to get out and enjoy each other's company, as well as the companionship of fellow warriors.
HOUSTON, Dec. 22, 2016 -- Veterans with service-related health issues recently received critical, instant relief when Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) teamed up with Combined Arms, which has a mission to unite the community to accelerate the impact of veterans, to hold a Benefits Claims Day in Houston. The innovative gathering helped warriors quickly obtain needed care by placing them face-to-face with a WWP staff member and a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) representative, who directly impacts the outcome of their medical claims.
With long-term financial and health support playing a crucial, empowering role in the recovery process, WWP created the Benefits Services program, helping injured veterans navigate the complexities of the Department of Defense and VA.
SUFFOLK, Va., Dec. 22, 2016 -- The lyric goes, "It's the most wonderful time of the year."
Gingerbread cookies, candy canes, telling Santa your wishlist, and … adult onesies?
Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) recently hosted a group of injured veterans and their families to experience all the trappings of the holiday season. Pajamas of all kinds were welcome at a gathering with Santa that included breakfast for dinner and a visit with some furry friends from Therapy Dogs International®. The holiday outreach activity gave wounded warriors and their families the chance to connect with one another and learn about WWP programs.
ATLANTA, Dec. 22, 2016 -- A group of injured veterans served by Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) recently joined Atlanta Habitat for Humanity® and volunteers from the local community to build a home for a family in need. Participants got to see the finished product and even had the opportunity to meet the future homeowner.
The gathering served as a chance for wounded warriors to connect with their community while feeling empowered through helping others. Outreach activities like this support the long-term recovery needs of warriors by reintroducing them and their families to the unique bonds experienced during military service.
NEW YORK, Dec. 22, 2016 -- Dan Webb and Mike Koziak had both been to New York City before, but never for an event like the one they were attending. They came this time as honored guests – of Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) and of the University of Michigan Wolverines basketball team. Both warriors were named honorary captains of the team at the 2016 2K Classic, a basketball game that benefits WWP.
For more than a week, Dan and Mike were engrossed in the world of the Wolverines – watching film with the teams, attending practices, and getting glimpses into their world.
OTTAWA, Kan., Dec. 21, 2016 -- During the holiday season, festive decorations can really tie the room together. At a recent Wounded Warrior Project®(WWP) outreach event in Ottawa, Kansas, a group of injured veterans and their guests put their creative skills to the test by crafting floral holiday centerpieces.
Gina Hill, whose husband is an Army veteran, came up with the idea for the gathering. She felt the small, artistic atmosphere would be a great place for warriors to connect with one another and form new friendships within their local veteran community.