JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Dec. 23, 2016 -- Coast Guard veteran Darren "Red" Rankin had the look of a kid waking up on Christmas morning when he saw what was stacked in a conference room at Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) headquarters in Jacksonville. DEWALT®, a corporate partner and supporter of WWP, provided a bounty of yellow boxes and packaging, filled with tools and supplies.
"That is amazing," Red said, marveling at the stack of equipment. "That's really amazing." He and his wife began to weep openly, hugging each other. These tools are more than just a donated gift – they are hope for their future.
BRANSON, Mo., Dec. 22, 2016 -- A group of injured veterans and their spouses were treated to the ultimate "dinner and a show" date experience during a recent Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) program event. The couples enjoyed a four-course meal at Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede® as they connected with fellow veterans in their community. While participants dined – without utensils, per Dixie Stampede custom – they enjoyed a holiday-themed live-action show, featuring more than 30 horses, trick riders, stunts, and musical performances.
Dustin Baggs, a retired Army combat engineer, said he and his wife were excited about the opportunity to attend the connection gathering. Having gone through five surgeries in the past year, he said it was a welcome chance to get out and enjoy each other's company, as well as the companionship of fellow warriors.
HOUSTON, Dec. 22, 2016 -- Veterans with service-related health issues recently received critical, instant relief when Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) teamed up with Combined Arms, which has a mission to unite the community to accelerate the impact of veterans, to hold a Benefits Claims Day in Houston. The innovative gathering helped warriors quickly obtain needed care by placing them face-to-face with a WWP staff member and a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) representative, who directly impacts the outcome of their medical claims.
With long-term financial and health support playing a crucial, empowering role in the recovery process, WWP created the Benefits Services program, helping injured veterans navigate the complexities of the Department of Defense and VA.
SUFFOLK, Va., Dec. 22, 2016 -- The lyric goes, "It's the most wonderful time of the year."
Gingerbread cookies, candy canes, telling Santa your wishlist, and … adult onesies?
Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) recently hosted a group of injured veterans and their families to experience all the trappings of the holiday season. Pajamas of all kinds were welcome at a gathering with Santa that included breakfast for dinner and a visit with some furry friends from Therapy Dogs International®. The holiday outreach activity gave wounded warriors and their families the chance to connect with one another and learn about WWP programs.
ATLANTA, Dec. 22, 2016 -- A group of injured veterans served by Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) recently joined Atlanta Habitat for Humanity® and volunteers from the local community to build a home for a family in need. Participants got to see the finished product and even had the opportunity to meet the future homeowner.
The gathering served as a chance for wounded warriors to connect with their community while feeling empowered through helping others. Outreach activities like this support the long-term recovery needs of warriors by reintroducing them and their families to the unique bonds experienced during military service.
NEW YORK, Dec. 22, 2016 -- Dan Webb and Mike Koziak had both been to New York City before, but never for an event like the one they were attending. They came this time as honored guests – of Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) and of the University of Michigan Wolverines basketball team. Both warriors were named honorary captains of the team at the 2016 2K Classic, a basketball game that benefits WWP.
For more than a week, Dan and Mike were engrossed in the world of the Wolverines – watching film with the teams, attending practices, and getting glimpses into their world.
OTTAWA, Kan., Dec. 21, 2016 -- During the holiday season, festive decorations can really tie the room together. At a recent Wounded Warrior Project®(WWP) outreach event in Ottawa, Kansas, a group of injured veterans and their guests put their creative skills to the test by crafting floral holiday centerpieces.
Gina Hill, whose husband is an Army veteran, came up with the idea for the gathering. She felt the small, artistic atmosphere would be a great place for warriors to connect with one another and form new friendships within their local veteran community.
BALTIMORE, Dec. 21, 2016 -- Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) veterans, family members, and guests recently spent a day exploring the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. The event was one of WWP's gatherings that educates warriors, their families, and caregivers about additional programs and services to help in the recovery process, creates support through shared experiences, and builds camaraderie by connecting injured veterans to one another and warrior families.
Often, the road to recovery begins by getting out of the house and back into an active lifestyle. WWP program events and activities are held in settings that accommodate physical injuries and social anxieties and often introduce warriors to the benefits of connecting with other injured veterans and getting involved with their communities.
SAN ANTONIO, Dec. 21, 2016 -- A group of injured veterans and family members explored the tranquil side of physical health and wellness during a recent Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) program event at Total Harmony Yoga, a veteran-run establishment in Hill Country Village. As participants learned the fundamentals of yoga, they experienced the benefits of attending social events that get them out of the house and connected with fellow service members who are also looking to improve their overall health and increase their mobility.
Instructors accommodated participants of all ability levels and skill sets as they led the group in a slow hatha yoga class – a style of yoga that focuses on attaining balance through breathing and light stretching.
CHANDLER, Ariz., Dec. 21, 2016 -- During a recent Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) program event at Rawhide Western Town in Chandler, Arizona, a group of injured veterans joined Rally Point Arizona for a 5K run to honor fellow service members. As participants ran and volunteered, they experienced what is possible at social gatherings that connect them with other wounded warriors and family members.
Marine veteran Janelle Happersett was happy to be a part of something that honored the nation's veterans – an experience made all the better with the support of family.
"Wounded Warrior Project gives me a healing outlet by providing situations that bring veterans together socially," she said. "We get to meet people to support us on our journey. These activities allow families to spend time together outside of the house, creating memories and forming new bonds."