LAS VEGAS, Jan. 6, 2018 -- Picturesque Red Rock Canyon was the setting for a recent Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) hiking event that gave injured veterans an opportunity to exercise and share quality time with their veteran peers and others from their community.
"I saw this as a great opportunity to hike with a group of people," said Air Force veteran Stacy Neagles. "I love hiking, but typically end up going alone. The hike was great, and we had awesome guides that were knowledgeable about the area. We even learned a little history about the canyon."
WWP program gatherings offer settings that provide opportunities for injured veterans to connect with one another and their communities. WWP also serves warriors by focusing on mental and physical health and wellness, financial wellness, independence, government relations, and community relations and partnerships.
HONOLULU, Jan. 5, 2018 -- Injured veterans, along with family and friends, explored new worlds through virtual reality at a recent Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) connection event. Warriors and their families bonded while experiencing the cutting edge of gaming technology.
"Most of the warriors were veterans that I've met before," said Marine Corps Reserve veteran Rolly Alvarado. "So, when we weren't playing, we were talking among ourselves. They're a great group of people, and this event has inspired me to attend other gatherings and programs. Wounded Warrior Project to me, means camaraderie, empowerment, dedication to one another, and improving my outlook on life."
Participants stepped out of everyday life and into a fantasy world for some friendly competition and top-of-the-line virtual experiences, such as boarding a ship as a space pirate, interacting in Doc's lab and with other "Back to the Future" characters, and scoring a mini-golf hole-in-one.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Jan. 4, 2018 -- Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) steps into its 15th year grateful for the opportunity to continue serving more than 135,000 injured veterans, their family members, and caregivers.
WWP connects injured veterans with its free programs, one another, and community resources. In 2017, the veterans' charity engaged more than 341,000 times with warriors, their families, and caregivers. WWP made more than 109,000 wellness checks, and more than 5 million copies of the weekly email newsletter reached warriors. These connections are important. In the most recent survey of the veterans WWP serves, four in five specifically mentioned social engagement and support as key factors in their rehabilitation and recovery. In short, connecting warriors with fellow veterans through WWP programs and services helps eliminate the isolation many wounded warriors feel as they return to civilian communities, and it helps connect them with additional programs and services that assist in their recoveries.
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C., Jan. 4, 2018 -- Experienced health coaches walked injured veterans through a Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) yoga session involving long-held breaths and deep stretches, followed by teachings on the recovery benefits of a holistic lifestyle.
"I enjoyed the yoga session and learning different ways to heal and establish new coping skills," said Geraldine Nelson, an Army veteran. "Plus, it was great meeting new warriors and reconnecting with others that I've seen at other Wounded Warrior Project gatherings. It was a great mix."
"I feel that I'm always open to learning new things," said Army veteran Novy Geraldo. "The yoga was peaceful, and the staff was very accommodating, but my favorite part of the program was sampling the food and getting new recipes."
SAN DIEGO, Jan.4, 2018 -- Warriors learned proper rowing techniques and form, followed by an opportunity to test their new skills on the water in Mission Bay at a recent Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) rowing class.
Injured veterans connected with one another and worked toward the mutual goal of improving their outlook and health while rowing in a beautiful, outdoor environment.
"This was an opportunity to do something different and get some exercise in the process," said Army veteran Chris Kojima. "I seek out as many Wounded Warrior Project events as I can. It gets me out of the house and interacting with other veterans."
MIAMI, Jan. 3, 2018 -- Injured veterans and family support members recently connected over sage recovery advice during an all-female Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) connection event.
West Point graduate, four-time Ironman Triathlon athlete, and veteran Dr. Carolyn Furdek provided the women insight into military and civilian mental health systems, as well as the medical fight that remains for veterans on the home front. She also addressed the need for quality self-care for veterans and members of their support networks.
"I had half of my thyroid removed this past July from thyroid cancer," said Emily Mackowski, wife of Army veteran Jeff. "After caring for myself and my husband, I was physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted. I realized from my cancer experience that I needed to do better with my self-care."
LONDON, Ohio, Jan. 2, 2018 -- Before digital photography, people had to wait forever for their photos to come back from the lab, if they came back at all. But injured veterans recently learned how to be the artist, editor, photo lab, and publisher, as they discovered the liberating creativity of digital photography.
Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) and the Thomas Media Group recently hosted a two-day program, empowering warriors to understand the advantages of digital photography and feel the power of connecting with art to help cope with the physical and mental wounds of war.
"During our second day of Project Snap class, we walked around downtown and took photos, applying what we learned about camera functions, lighting, and composing," said Angela Ross, wife of Army veteran Albert Ross. "I love taking photos, and now I have the knowledge to hone my skills."
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., Jan. 2, 2018 -- Gardening has long been known to be therapeutic and beneficial to physical and mental health, which is why Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) recently invited veterans and their families to learn more about small-space gardening. Veterans learned that no matter the size of your planting area, you can set up your own garden.
"This event inspired me to plan and start my little garden — from dirt and hard work to different vegetables and spices," said Daniel Munguia, an Army veteran. "The class taught me to properly mix planting soil and set up specific planting locations in my yard for my garden. I already have rosemary, a fig tree, different types of chilies, and other spices."
The class instructor took warriors and their families through a virtual exploration of backyard microclimates, water usage and conservation, building a biodiverse garden, and various growing methodologies.
WOOSTER, Ohio, Dec. 23, 2017 -- Injured veterans and their loved ones tapped into their inner Clark Griswold by joining Wounded Warrior Project®(WWP) at Pine Tree Barn to pick out, cut down, and take home their own Christmas trees, as well as visit with Santa.
With saw in hand, Army veteran Michael Thomas and his family zeroed in on their perfect tree. "This was our first experience with cutting our own Christmas tree," Michael said. "It was really exciting and new."
Michael's eight-year-old daughter, Imani, said her favorite part of the event was "when Daddy cut down the tree." She is looking forward to decorating the tree, as well as seeing presents under it.