ATLANTA, April 25, 2017 -- As many as 500,000 of today's generation of veterans live with the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These men and women cope with a number of symptoms including flashbacks, frightening thoughts, anger, and interruptions in sleep.
"Disturbed sleep with troubling dreams is one of the defining characteristics of PTSD, so it is a big problem for vets," said Dr. Don Bliwise. Bliwise is the director of the Sleep, Aging, and Chronobiology Program at Emory Healthcare.
WASHINGTON, April 25, 2017 -- When Army veteran James Myers first connected with Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) three years ago in Hawaii, meeting the president of the United States was not something he expected to happen as a result. James recently joined 53 other wounded veterans in the East Room of the White House, to be greeted by the president, vice president, and the first and second ladies. The special ceremony was part of Soldier Ride®, a multi-day bicycling event that connects warriors with one another to help heal their bodies and minds.
"When I lived in Hawaii, I went through a warrior transition program because I had a traumatic brain injury," James explained. "That's where I first got connected with Wounded Warrior Project, and they've been a big help for me with the events they do. Soldier Ride was something I had wanted to do for a while now."
PEARL RIVER, N.Y., April 24, 2017 -- Generous donors from all walks of life and of all ages allow Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) to provide free, life-changing programs and services to injured veterans, their caregivers, and family members. Recently, English teacher Doreen Arney supported WWP through a class exercise with her students.
"One of the hardest habits to break for my 8th- and 9th-grade students is to eliminate the 'likes' and 'ums' from their speech," Doreen said. "My solution was to create a 'banned words jar.' Then I encouraged students to donate a penny to the jar for each offense. To motivate them, I offered to match the amount in the jar at the end of the quarter, and they could pick a charity that would receive the amount collected."
PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla., April 20, 2017 -- Whirling sounds and flashing lights of electronic games along with the uncontrolled laughter of children of all ages served as a perfect backdrop for Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) families to connect during a recent afternoon at an arcade.
More than 100 veterans and their families learned about WWP programs and services, including warrior-to-warrior support, before embarking on an afternoon of playing games.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla., April 19, 2017 -- Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) offers intense multi-day mental health workshops for veterans coping with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These help warriors and their families maintain healthy, meaningful relationships while pursuing life goals – free from the stigmas associated with mental health issues.
"Combat takes a lot from veterans, but with the Wounded Warrior Project workshop, I've learned coping skills for everyday situations to help me be whole again," said John Bates, retired U.S. Army veteran. "WWP has given me more than I could have imagined in a short timeframe."
OKLAHOMA CITY, April 19, 2017 -- A recent two-hour hike through the Martin Park Nature Center connected veterans with one another and Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) in a springtime setting – far from the hustle of everyday life.
Army veteran Melissa Dunn-Mathes and WWP organized the 2.5-mile hike, and it quickly turned into something more significant than a walk through the woods.
"It was awesome to get outside and away from everyday life so we could focus on new experiences," Melissa said. "More than anything else, the camaraderie of it all was empowering."
SAN ANTONIO, April 18, 2017 -- Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) announced today that USAA® (United Services Automobile Association) will be the Presenting Sponsor of the 11th annual Courage Awards & Benefit Dinner®. At this gala, WWP's most passionate supporters will be recognized for their service and dedication to WWP's mission to honor and empower Wounded Warriors. The event, which will take place on Thursday, June 1, 2017 at the Hilton Midtown in New York City, fuels the critical support necessary for WWP to offer warriors a range of specialized programs and services – all tailored to each veteran's specific needs – free of charge.
The Courage Awards & Benefit Dinner will feature three special awards: a "Service" award honoring a corporate partner who has dedicated time to grassroots efforts in support of WWP; an "Empowerment" award to an individual or company who has dedicated their time to raising awareness for the needs of the wounded; and a "Courage" award to a warrior, family or caregiver who embodies the values of WWP. Throughout the evening, warriors served by WWP will also be honored.
ALPHARETTA, Ga., April 18, 2017 -- Publix recently hosted Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) veterans for a healthy cooking class. As warriors learned to substitute healthy ingredients in home-cooked meals without compromising flavor, they experienced the benefits of getting out of the house and connecting with fellow service members.
Instructors showed wounded warriors and guests how to lower calorie count, fat content, and sodium levels in their favorite dishes, encouraging them to overhaul their diets without feeling apprehensive. The hands-on lesson was part of WWP's Physical Health and Wellness program, which is designed to reduce stress and promote healthy and active lifestyles for warriors and family members.
WASHINGTON, April 17, 2017 -- Backpacking in the wilderness and maintaining your bicycle are activities that require a certain level of preparation and technique. That's why Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) recently teamed up with outdoor retailer REI to host an afternoon class on how master these activities.
Like many others at the event, Army veteran Stephanie Hornedo was a newcomer to backpacking.
"I have done some beginner hikes, but nothing requiring the equipment or tools that REI was demonstrating," Stephanie said. "That was really interesting to see – what I thought was essential for a hike was way different from what the professionals say is essential."
COTTAGE GROVE, Minn., April 12, 2017 -- While progress has been made in raising awareness of veteran suicide, the sad truth is that some dealing with the visible and invisible wounds of war still choose to end their lives. Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) recently teamed up with the Minnesota Army National Guard to host an Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) course for injured veterans and service members. The training provided useful lifesaving skills, and it was an opportunity for warriors to connect and discuss a stark military issue.
Participants took part in an immersive, two-day interactive workshop on suicide first aid. ASIST – a program widely used by healthcare providers – teaches people to recognize the first signs of suicidal thoughts or actions and to create a plan with at-risk individuals to ensure their immediate safety.