HOUSTON, Feb. 16, 2017 -- During the biggest night in football, one warrior served by Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) was able to experience the action up close. While attending an event hosted by USAA® and the NFL, U.S. Marine Corps veteran Marcelino Gonzalez was chosen as the lucky winner for two free tickets – donated by the NFL – to Super Bowl LI. He and his wife enjoyed the game, close to the field – and another prominent attendee.
"The feeling of being there was surreal," Marcelino said. "Going to the Super Bowl is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. To experience it with my wife made it even better. My seats were in a great section, 40 feet from Vice President Mike Pence. It was an amazing game."
WHITESBURG, Ga., Feb. 16, 2017 -- Warriors recently attended a Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) mental health workshop at Historic Banning Mills in Whitesburg, Georgia. These gatherings are often the first time warriors leave their homes to connect with others in their communities.
"Combat stress changed everything about my life," said U.S. Army and Army Reserve combat veteran Edwin Medina, who is from Jacksonville, Florida, and recently attended a WWP mental health workshop. "I'm not the same person I was before I deployed. It's a struggle every day."
TAMPA, Fla., Feb. 16, 2017 -- Tampa will host Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) Soldier Ride® as a group of our nation's heroes begins a journey toward recovery alongside their fellow warriors. Throughout the course of three days and 30 miles, participants will discover Soldier Ride is more than a cycling event – it is a chance to heal their bodies and minds.
This event will be the first time that some warriors venture out of their homes to connect with the community since being wounded. Many warriors face similar challenges with isolation when transitioning to civilian life, and events like this offer a chance to bond with one another and learn they are not alone.
BARTLETT, N.H., Feb. 15, 2017 -- While many people opt to ride out the winter indoors, Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) veterans recently met the frigid conditions head-on. During a guided snowmobile tour of the White Mountains, participants enjoyed trying something new while forming connections with fellow service members.
A pair of experienced guides led warriors and guests on the two-hour adventure. Army veteran Yanai Liberman was eager to view the New Hampshire landscape from a fresh perspective.
EWA BEACH, Hawaii, Feb. 14, 2017 -- A group of Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) veterans recently spent the day at Hoakalei Country Club, where they connected with fellow service members and their community. Warriors took to the links at a Salute Military Golf Association (SMGA) tournament.
SMGA, a nonprofit dedicated to improving veterans' quality of life through golf programs, honored WWP warriors with a tournament on a challenging professional course. Army veteran Frank Lopez jumped at the opportunity.
SAN ANTONIO, Feb. 14, 2017 -- For years, Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) has partnered with organizations that share its mission to honor and empower Wounded Warriors. Recently, WWP hosted a strategy session for over 80 veterans service organizations (VSOs) to network and discuss best practices for serving wounded veterans in Texas and nationwide.
"Wounded Warrior Project understands that no single organization can solve the complex challenges that wounded veterans face," said Jennifer Silva, WWP chief program officer. "As a collective whole, however, veterans service organizations have a much stronger chance of transforming communities and supporting injured veterans by connecting warriors with services and programs that empower them to live successful lives."
DELRAY BEACH, Fla., Feb. 13, 2017 -- Physical health and wellness training is only a small part of recovery for warriors returning to civilian life. At a recent fitness workshop hosted by Team Red, White & Blue (Team RWB), warriors learned how to overcome their physical limitations through weight lifting, plyometrics, and stretching. And for one of the veterans served by Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP), the challenge of returning to civilian life included a social component, too.
"I was very nervous when I first arrived," said U.S. Army veteran Tifani Wood. "I didn't know anyone except the Wounded Warrior Project staff member who coordinated this event. I didn't know what I was getting into."
PITTSBURGH, Feb. 13, 2017 -- Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) recently teamed with The Strength Lab at Union Fitness for a powerlifting clinic in Pittsburgh. Xtreme Powerlifting Coalition member and author Casey Williams provided hands-on coaching for warriors during the squat, deadlift, and bench press exercises.
"Since leaving the Army, my physical health deteriorated," said wounded warrior Tony Canzonieri. "A few months ago, I began working out and found myself looking and feeling better. Having never lifted weights, this event was an opportunity to gain a new skill and continue my fitness journey, working my way back to a healthy weight and mindset.
BROOKLYN, N.Y., Feb. 13, 2017 -- The New York Islanders hockey team has settled in its new home in Brooklyn, and injured veterans recently got to see them in action during a Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) outing at Barclays Center. As warriors watched the Islanders take on the Florida Panthers, they made the most of the opportunity to connect with fellow veterans.
More than 50 warriors and guests began their evening at a popular Latin eatery, where they reconnected with old friends, made new ones, and talked about helpful programs with WWP staff members. After dinner, the group headed to the arena. The game was a close one, and while the Islanders fell 2-1, participants still enjoyed the chance to get out among their brothers and sisters in arms.
MASSAPEQUA PARK, N.Y., Feb. 10, 2017 -- What can be better than a smoked barbecue dinner with brisket, burnt ends, and pulled pork? Enjoying that meal with fellow veterans and Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP)! Warriors and guests recently met up at Smokin' Al's Famous BBQ Joint to chow down and connect with fellow service members in their community.
"Attending gatherings like this reminds me people out there still care," said Army veteran John Abreu. "As a civilian on your own, people don't know who you are or what you did. But when I'm out with Wounded Warrior Project veterans, people around us know who we are and what we've done. They thank us for our service. It's a great feeling."