JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Oct. 2, 2017 -- Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) will once again participate in the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC), the world's largest annual workplace charitable giving campaign. CFC provides an opportunity for military and civilian federal employees to support causes they believe in.
The funds raised through CFC provide WWP the support needed to ensure its programs and services continue to be provided free of charge to warriors, their families, and caregivers. These resources help with mental and physical health, career and benefits counseling, connecting warriors with one another and their communities, and long-term support for the most seriously wounded.
The programs and services support both immediate and long-term recovery by smoothing the transition into civilian life and empowering warriors to build support structures. The simple act of attending an event with fellow warriors can reintroduce injured veterans to the unique bonds experienced during military service. Rarely duplicated in the civilian world, these relationships act as a secure bedrock that paves the road to recovery.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Sept. 29, 2017 -- Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) relies on the support of donors, including individual supporters, corporate partners, and even groups of students. Recently, some of WWP's supporters have shared their artistic talents as a way to raise awareness and funds for wounded veterans. Musician Connor McDermott is one of those supporters – and he put his gifts to work for a music video tribute to America's service members.
"I made the video in the first place to honor my grandfather and his service in Vietnam," Connor said. "He actually appears four times in the video. But I also wanted it to be something that would honor the service of all the men and women in our armed forces both past and present."
The military tradition runs strong in Connor's family, with multiple generations having served in major world conflicts over the decades.
MILWAUKEE, Sept. 28, 2017 -- For years, Harley-Davidson® has partnered with and supported Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) through riding academy events, bike giveaways, and funds raised from sales of items in their Operation Personal Freedom clothing line. Recently, that support also extended to a special event at Harley-Davidson headquarters in Milwaukee, where a group of warriors toured the facility and learned about the American icon's history.
"Discovering the history of the motorcycle was fascinating, and the displays they have are incredible," said Craig Caldwell, a Navy veteran served by WWP. "It took me and my wife, Kim, back to a time when life was much simpler, compared to today's zero-to-100-in-six-seconds lifestyle. The museum had a lot of old black and white photos covering the history of how they got started and the old plant and where things used to be compared to now."
The tour had such a big impact on Craig and Kim that they decided to buy motorcycles right then and there. Although he's only been riding for a while, he's found great enjoyment with his motorcycle.
Wednesday, Adam and 38 other wounded veterans competed in one of the road bike races at Invictus Games 2017. Invictus Games bring wounded veterans from around the world to compete in sports. An Air Force veteran whose civilian career is in cycling, Adam finished third, just one second behind race winner Andrew White from the United Kingdom.
"It was a great race," Adam said. "Really great riders competed, and I'm proud to have taken part."
KENLY, N.C., Sept. 28, 2017 -- An accident during an Army deployment to Egypt caused Thomas Holcomb's traumatic brain injury – and the invisible wound led to multiple strokes and seizures that impact his life even today. Thomas became forgetful, impatient, and reclusive. Overwhelmed, the once-fit wounded warrior began gaining weight, and soon, depression took over his life.
"When I heard about Wounded Warrior Project's male mental health workshops, I was in a really bad place," Thomas said. "I hadn't reached out to anyone for help and found myself at struggling at 248 pounds."
Through the generous support of donors, Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) offers veterans specialized mental health programs and services – tailored to each warrior's specific needs and free of charge. One such program is its multi-day mental health workshops that are offered as all-male, all-female, or all-couples. These workshops provide safe, private environments for warriors to express themselves and share their experiences.
WASHINGTON, Sept. 27, 2017 -- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) are considered the signature wounds of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. It is estimated that 500,000 veterans live with the symptoms of PTSD; around 320,000 have a TBI.
These trauma-related issues can contribute significantly to suicidal thoughts or tendencies. It is estimated more than 20 veterans take their life each day. There are few proven methods to accurately diagnose and treat PTSD and TBI.
Today, Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) and Cohen Veterans Bioscience (CVB) announced a shared initiative to better diagnose and treat PTSD and TBI. The collaboration, known as Research Alliance for PTSD/TBI Innovation and Discovery Diagnostics (RAPID-Dx), is a public-private partnership led by CVB with WWP supporting biomarker research.
WILLIAMSTOWN, Ky., Sept. 27, 2017 -- Injured veterans recently attended a Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) mental health workshop in Nantahala, North Carolina. Throughout the 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.
"This workshop set a fire inside my heart to make a change and reclaim my life," said Kenneth Huff, Army veteran from Williamstown, Kentucky. "I have a new platoon of friends to help me over the humps life may throw at me, and after just three days back from the workshop, I am doing things I haven't done in more than seven years – like going back to church. Now, I am pushing myself to reach a place where I may be an inspiration to others."
JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Sept. 26, 2017 -- To better assist schools across the country with their fundraising efforts around Veterans Day, Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) is kicking off the "Honor Their Courage" campaign. In partnership with WWP, teachers, administrators, and parent-teacher association (PTA) leaders will receive tools and resources that help them honor warriors, educate students on the service of the nation's wounded warriors, and raise money for those WWP serves. These critical resources raised by generous donors ensure WWP can continue to connect wounded veterans with services that empower them to live their lives on their own terms.
"Our supporters come from all walks of life and all age groups," said WWP CEO Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Mike Linnington. "Wounded Warrior Project is blessed to have the support of students who are passionate about doing good for America's wounded veterans. This fall, as we approach Veterans Day, students will have the chance to show their creativity and passion as they raise critical funds on behalf of those who have bravely served our country."
MIAMI, Sept. 20, 2017 -- The flavors of Havana captured South Florida veterans during a recent Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) event. Local warriors and their family members put their taste buds to work during a food tour. While most tours offer a unique experience for attendees, events like these mean so much more to warriors.
The Little Havana Food and Walking tour took guests through the historic neighborhood to enjoy food, music, and area artists. Warriors also got to visit Maximo Gomez "Domino" Park, a well-known Miami landmark.
Debra Roberts, a Navy veteran who served in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, was one of the warriors who attended the event. While Debra said she learned a lot about local history and tasted some good food from Miami's Little Havana neighborhood, the highlight of the event for her was just getting out of the house.
"Wounded Warrior Project means so much to me. Otherwise, I wouldn't likely leave the house. I don't like to do things alone and need the motivation to get out."
NAPLES, Fla., Sept. 13, 2017 -- Wounded Warrior Project ® (WWP) veterans recently took a hands-on approach to preventing threats against wildlife in South Florida. Touching and seeing up-close snake skins and replicas of some of the area's most deadly reptiles set the tone for the boat ride. Veterans ventured on a water tour to see where these animals live. Coming together through experiences like these helps connect warriors, their families, and caregivers to one another and their communities; it is a critical step in the healing process.
"I enjoy Wounded Warrior Project activities because I can meet other veterans and their families and hear their stories," said wounded U.S. Army veteran Ricardo Gutierrez de Pineres. "My family, especially my daughter and I, had a great time."
WWP gatherings take place in settings that accommodate physical injuries and social anxieties to help reduce isolation. Isolation is one of the most significant struggles wounded warriors deal with after serving their country.