ALPINE, Calif., May 5, 2017 -- Jennifer Olsen stepped from her comfort zone recently, leaving her service dog behind to stand atop a mountain and stare into the eyes of remarkable birds of prey.
All along, she felt empowered – and certainly at ease – with Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) veterans as they learned about the 4,000-year-old sport of falconry.
"I doubt I ever would have been able to do this in the past," Jennifer said. I will never forget us being in a circle and having a hawk fly to our glove. I'm happy this got me out of my comfort zone."
JACKSONVILLE, Fla., May 5, 2017 -- Looking for an impactful way to support the warriors served by Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) while also enjoying dinner and an auction in New York City? Then the 11th annual Courage Awards & Benefit Dinner® presented by USAA® is for you! Along with wounded veterans, WWP's most passionate supporters will be recognized for their service and dedication to WWP's mission to honor and empower Wounded Warriors.
"The Courage Awards & Benefit Dinner is a chance to not only honor our warriors, but also those partners who make Wounded Warrior Project's mission possible," said WWP CEO Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Mike Linnington. "Our generous donors and partners allow us to connect wounded veterans with the programs and services that empower them to live their lives on their own terms. That same generosity enables us to provide those program resources at no cost to the warriors, caregivers, and family members Wounded Warrior Project so proudly serves."
PHILADELPHIA, May 3, 2017 -- At the 2017 NFL Draft, warriors served by Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) had a unique chance to experience the action. They gathered on the main stage as they were honored during the national anthem and watched from the stands among hundreds of thousands of enthusiastic football fans, thanks to the NFL.
"I'm a Cleveland Browns fan, so seeing Myles Garrett taken as the first pick was amazing," said Army veteran Shane Parsons. "Taking it all in, seeing the fans, seeing the Joint Service Color Guard present – it was awe-inspiring. I'm grateful that Wounded Warrior Project and the NFL gave me the chance to see it."
WASHINGTON, April 27, 2017 -- Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) joined other veterans service organizations to support an executive order that will strengthen the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). President Donald Trump signed the order to allow VA to hold employees accountable.
"The overwhelming majority of VA employees serve our veterans honorably, and we applaud their service and commitment to our veterans and their families. There are, however, instances where employees have been negligent in their duties," said WWP CEO Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Mike Linnington. "While VA needs authority to hold employees at every level accountable, we are also encouraged by the VA secretary's commitment to developing values-based leaders who go the extra mile in service to veterans and their families. Wounded Warrior Project is committed to working with VA and other veterans service organizations to ensure these changes occur."
PASADENA, Md., April 27, 2017 -- Making people laugh and connecting with Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) veterans are two of Michael Carrasquillo's favorite passions. A recent stand-up comedy course helped him enjoy both at the same time.
"As a warrior, I love being with other veterans," Michael said. "As a performer, it's exciting to work with other veterans at being funny. There's nothing better than using my jokes to make others laugh."
TAMPA, Fla., April 26, 2017 -- Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) is connecting some of the most seriously wounded veterans with their communities by creating a new adaptive sports position.
Veterans served through WWP's Independence Program will be connected with adaptive sports opportunities throughout the country as they discover new ways to get involved in their communities.
"Adaptive sports are a great way to deal with your situation, whatever your disability happens to be," Bill Hannigan said. "From experience, that is how I was able to overcome my own disability."
JACKSONVILLE, Fla., April 25, 2017 -- More than 40 Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) Peer Support Groups across the nation will receive special care packages from Operation Supply Drop (OSD) to raise morale and offer a unique means of therapy for injured veterans. The packages include video gaming consoles, controllers, and video games and will be delivered throughout 2017.
Warrior-to-warrior peer support is a special type of therapy that reintroduces injured veterans to the unique bonds experienced during military service. The WWP Peer Support program allows warriors to discuss personal challenges, set recovery goals, and give back to their community – all while supporting one another.
ATLANTA, April 25, 2017 -- As many as 500,000 of today's generation of veterans live with the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These men and women cope with a number of symptoms including flashbacks, frightening thoughts, anger, and interruptions in sleep.
"Disturbed sleep with troubling dreams is one of the defining characteristics of PTSD, so it is a big problem for vets," said Dr. Don Bliwise. Bliwise is the director of the Sleep, Aging, and Chronobiology Program at Emory Healthcare.
WASHINGTON, April 25, 2017 -- When Army veteran James Myers first connected with Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) three years ago in Hawaii, meeting the president of the United States was not something he expected to happen as a result. James recently joined 53 other wounded veterans in the East Room of the White House, to be greeted by the president, vice president, and the first and second ladies. The special ceremony was part of Soldier Ride®, a multi-day bicycling event that connects warriors with one another to help heal their bodies and minds.
"When I lived in Hawaii, I went through a warrior transition program because I had a traumatic brain injury," James explained. "That's where I first got connected with Wounded Warrior Project, and they've been a big help for me with the events they do. Soldier Ride was something I had wanted to do for a while now."
PEARL RIVER, N.Y., April 24, 2017 -- Generous donors from all walks of life and of all ages allow Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) to provide free, life-changing programs and services to injured veterans, their caregivers, and family members. Recently, English teacher Doreen Arney supported WWP through a class exercise with her students.
"One of the hardest habits to break for my 8th- and 9th-grade students is to eliminate the 'likes' and 'ums' from their speech," Doreen said. "My solution was to create a 'banned words jar.' Then I encouraged students to donate a penny to the jar for each offense. To motivate them, I offered to match the amount in the jar at the end of the quarter, and they could pick a charity that would receive the amount collected."