EAST SETAUKET, N.Y., Sept. 6, 2017 -- Raising awareness at the local level can make a big difference for Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP). That support allows WWP to provide its programs free of charge to the warriors it serves. And that support comes from individual supporters, corporate partners, and even groups of students. Recently, the entire 6th grade class of Arrowhead Elementary School showed its support for WWP.
"Our grade level teachers talked about doing an annual fundraiser, and we decided we wanted to help military personnel because of the sacrifices they have made for our country," said Dan Walsh, one of the 6th grade teachers. "As we researched, we were impressed with Wounded Warrior Project and their mission. We knew that was who we wanted to support."
Dan's father and father-in-law both served in the Navy, with his father-in-law serving during World War II. While they were never able to directly benefit from the programs and services that WWP offers, Dan saw a chance to show how it benefits others.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Each week, hundreds of injured veterans from more than 40 Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) veteran peer support groups across the country meet and participate in activities ranging from group support meetings to community service projects. While their military service has ended, their commitment to service remains – and so they delve deep into their communities and local charities.
Reconnecting warriors to one another in the civilian world is critical to healing, which is why WWP serves them through its Peer Support program by fusing supportive rehabilitation with the military adage “Leave No Man Behind.” This warrior-to-warrior support is a special type of therapy that reintroduces injured veterans to the unique bonds experienced during military service.
“I always enjoy volunteering in my community,” said TeakSafiya Wilson, U.S. Army National Guard injured veteran and WWP Peer Support participant from Atlanta, Georgia. "But doing it with fellow service members makes the experience more rewarding and is just a great way to keep us involved in the community."
PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 5, 2017 -- Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) adds military and business experience to its board of directors with the appointment of Kathleen Widmer, a President at Johnson & Johnson, and West Point Graduate.
Widmer becomes WWP's tenth board member. Her background includes nearly 25 years with Johnson & Johnson. She has served as President of Johnson & Johnson Consumer, OTC Division since 2015. That division makes over the counter drugs like Tylenol©, Sudafed©, Motrin©, and Benadryl©. Widmer graduated from West Point in 1983 and served five years in the U.S. Army. Widmer holds a Masters of Business Administration in Marketing and Marketing Management from Oklahoma City University.
"We're excited Kathleen Widmer is able to bring her passion for the military to our board of directors," said WWP CEO Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Mike Linnington. "Dating back to the Spanish-American War, Johnson & Johnson has shown a commitment to the veteran community. Kathleen's growth through that organization will help us as we continue evolving to best serve this generation of wounded warriors."
JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Aug. 31, 2017 -- The donors who support Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) and its mission to honor and empower Wounded Warriors come from all walks of life. Recently, 44 video game enthusiasts gathered for a marathon streaming session to raise awareness and funds for WWP, playing the widely popular game "PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds." Connor Hervey, a member of the BOTEmpire gaming team, organized the event.
"We decided to get involved in charity work recently because we thought since we have built this platform, why not use it for the betterment of others instead of just ourselves?" Connor said. "There's no better feeling than helping those who need it, especially with a great cause like Wounded Warrior Project."
Connor has a few relatives who served in the military, such as his grandpa, who was an Army veteran and helicopter mechanic. However, it was his close friendship with some WWP staff that first inspired him to learn more about the organization.
CINCINNATI, Aug. 29, 2017 -- Baseball is more than just America's pastime – it's a long-standing tradition of coming together to enjoy a relaxing day of sports, fellowship, and fun. For the Cincinnati Reds™, it's also a chance to give back to the injured veterans served by Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP). The team donated tickets to wounded warriors so they could see the Reds in action at the Great American Ball Park.
Zach Bruton, a Marine Corps veteran and wounded warrior, recently attended a Reds game. He had been to many WWP events before, where he connected with other veterans like him – but this was one of his favorites.
"I've participated in many of the other Wounded Warrior Project events such as the push-up challenge, building a better workout, and some of the other physical health and wellness events," Zach said.
HARRISBURG, Pa., Aug. 29, 2017 -- Recently, the Rochester Rhinos and the Harrisburg City Islanders hosted their inaugural Capelli Sport Hero Cup, supporting Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP). The cup was awarded to the Rhinos for their 1-0 victory over the Islanders.
Warriors served by WWP came together at the game for a night of camaraderie and a chance to connect with other local warriors who share their life experiences. These relationships can be instrumental in building support systems that help with recovery from the wounds of war.
"At this soccer game, I met another warrior who I was with for two months in the Coatesville Veterans Affairs Medical Center in their post-traumatic stress disorder program," said Stephen Moyer, an Army veteran and wounded warrior. "It was good to talk to him again. Although neither of us remembered each other's names at first, we remembered the faces.
PHOENIX, Aug. 22, 2017 -- Local warriors recently attended a Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) mental health workshop in Carlsbad, California. These gatherings are often the first time warriors leave their homes to connect with others in their communities.
"I thought the workshop was just an opportunity to hang out with other veterans," said George Almasan, U.S. Army veteran from Glendale, Arizona. "But I quickly learned that throughout the entire week, we were all receiving extremely helpful tools for coping with our invisible injuries – these injuries are impacting my life. It's hard to find a solution or a way to cope with mental wounds."
Through the generous support of donors, WWP offers veterans specialized mental health programs and services – tailored to each warrior's specific needs and free of charge.
MINNEAPOLIS and ST. PAUL, Minn., Aug. 18, 2017 -- Marine Corps veteran and wounded warrior Greg Padilla was on the last stretch of road before the last stop of the day when he opened up about his experiences on a bicycle over the last two days.
"There's been a lot of bonding among everyone, but when you have that added element of being injured, you find yourself in one of two camps – you're either isolated, or you're not isolated," Greg said. "A lot of the warriors here actually identified themselves as isolated. And this was an opportunity for them to speak with other veterans, engage with other veterans, and do something other than hiding within our homes."x
WASHINGTON, Aug. 17, 2017 -- Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) targets its programs and services to the nearly 130,000 veterans and family members it serves. But WWP efforts directly impact millions more veterans through government policy efforts and partnerships.
In a survey of the injured veterans WWP serves, more than three out of four (76 percent) warriors live with the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
One of those partnerships is Warrior Care Network® – an innovative effort with four top academic medical centers and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Through this partnership, veterans living with PTSD and traumatic brain injury (TBI) are treated in intensive outpatient programs at one of the partner facilities such as the Road Home Program at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. Warrior Care Network provides more than 70 hours of therapy for patients during the two-to-three-week program.
SAN ANTONIO, Aug. 16, 2017 -- Women veterans recently attended an all-female Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) mental health workshop in Park City, Utah. The week kicked off with team building exercises. Throughout the five-day experiential learning event, warriors committed to personal goals they'll focus on for six months after the workshop. While these gatherings are often the first time warriors leave their homes to connect with one another and their communities, warriors return home with a network of supportive bonds to help them on their roads to recovery.
"Combat stress has made my life a roller coaster," said Stephanie Ingram, Army veteran and San Antonio resident. "I've been homeless and unemployed, but the thing that hurts most is the rejection and assumptions that come from the stigma of post-traumatic stress. When I watched a Wounded Warrior Project commercial, I was inspired to participate in the mental health workshop to challenge myself and connect with warriors who have similar obstacles – to embrace and learn from them."