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."
JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Aug. 15, 2017 -- Papa John's® is teaming with Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) to support wounded warriors through the nonprofit. Now through Sept. 17, when customers purchase the WWP Combo at participating locations on papajohns.com, Papa John's will donate $2.22 for every special sold. With promotion code WWP22, this combo includes two large two-topping pizzas and a two-liter Pepsi® product for $22.22.
The donation amount from each combo sale reflects and brings awareness to the 22 veterans who take their lives each day. These veterans may struggle with a lack of resources and support for the visible and invisible wounds of war – something WWP combats by connecting wounded veterans with programs and services that empower them to live their lives on their terms.
SAN DIEGO, Aug. 11, 2017 -- When Marine Corps veteran Nicole Robinson arrived in San Diego, she had two goals – to support the other warriors around her and stay positive. She attended Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) Soldier Ride® with 40 wounded veterans to connect with them while challenging herself during the multi-day bicycling event.
"Adaptive sports are really important, and they helped saved my life," Nicole said. "After my injury got really bad, I missed running, hiking, and staying active."
Like all of WWP's physical health and wellness programs, Soldier Ride is adaptable to the stage of recovery of each wounded veteran. At the start of every Soldier Ride, warriors are fitted with adaptive cycling equipment to accommodate injuries and make the ride as comfortable as possible. For Nicole, this was especially important with her severe injury that greatly limits her mobility.
LOS ANGELES, Aug. 11, 2017 -- It might be hard to imagine a bicycle race more iconic than the Tour De France, but in America, there's one race that's much more challenging. The Race Across America (RAAM) is not only 30 percent longer than the Tour de France, but it must also be completed in half the time. Finishing it is impressive in its own right – but for a team with an average age of 64, completing it under nine days is unbelievable.
Yet, that's exactly what Randy Horton and his team did – but not just for glory and the adventure of a lifetime. Randy and his team did it to raise awareness and support for Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) and the warriors it serves.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Aug. 11, 2017 -- Robert McGregor spent nearly 30 years in the U.S. Navy, experiencing duty stations around the world and holding several roles, including helicopter pilot, air traffic officer, and flight instructor. The retired lieutenant commander recently found himself in front of instructors during a career boot camp at Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP).
"I retired from the Navy in 2014, and I have been struggling to find employment since," Robert said. "Transitioning from the military can be a very challenging time for many vets."
Robert went back to school after retiring but found no career options, even after earning a master's degree in business administration.
"I realized I needed a certification in project management to get my resume noticed. I had already used my GI Bill."
JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Aug. 10, 2017 -- The Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp recently welcomed warriors and family members served by Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) for a night of baseball, fireworks, and camaraderie. Gatherings like this don't just allow wounded veterans to enjoy a night out with family members – they're also 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.
"Baseball has always been one of my favorite sports to watch," said Navy veteran Clint Haskell. "I haven't lived in Florida very long, and I haven't been to a game in years. Being back in the atmosphere of the ballpark was a great feeling. And I connected with some veterans I had not met before. No matter how many times you attend a Wounded Warrior Project event, you can always meet someone new who can give advice or perspective on life and its challenges."
JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Aug. 10, 2017 -- Video games brought warriors into a virtual world in Jacksonville as veterans charity Stack-Up teamed with Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) for a night filled with friendly competition, food, and fellowship. Stack-Up is a charity organization that brings veterans and civilian supporters together through a shared love of video gaming.
"Wounded Warrior Project provided me with the tools needed to be a functional veteran," said Air Force veteran Julio Quinones. "They've done some very big things in my life – so when I heard they were hosting a game night, which intrigued me. I wouldn't call myself a gamer, but I'm really interested in technology."
CHARLOTTE, N.C., Aug. 9, 2017 -- The supporters of Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) come from all walks of life, and their generosity allows WWP to provide free, life-changing programs and services to injured veterans, their caregivers, and family members. David Britt of Charlotte, North Carolina, wanted to support WWP and the warriors it serves through music.
"After watching 'American Sniper' at home one afternoon a couple months ago, it just hit me – I had to write another song," David said. "I'd seen the movie numerous times, but something that day was different. I was overcome with emotion. I thought about all the men and women who've served and didn't make it back home at all. Then I thought about my kids, and I lost it. I had to write a song to say 'thank you' to our soldiers.