JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Jan. 19, 2017) – Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) applauds swift action by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to help wounded veterans wishing to start a family. Veterans who lost the ability to conceive because of a service-connected injury will finally have access to fertility treatment under rules adopted by VA today.
The move comes just three months after Congress passed a bill allowing VA to offer these services. WWP led a coalition of partners to advocate on Capitol Hill to keep our nation’s promise of providing care that matches the sacrifices of our wounded warriors. Partners and veterans service organizations including WWP, Disabled Veterans of America®, Bob Woodruff Foundation, Paralyzed Veterans of America, and others were part of the group. Campaign efforts included letters to members of Congress, an online petition, thousands of emails to lawmakers, and social media posts to raise public awareness. WWP brought several families on multiple trips to Washington, D.C. to personally share their stories with members of Congress and their staffs.
MIAMI and KEY WEST, Fla., Jan. 18, 2017 -- A group of injured veterans served by Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) recently rode 56 miles during Soldier Ride® in Miami and Key West. Throughout the four-day gathering, warriors discovered Soldier Ride is more than a cycling event – it is a chance to heal their bodies and minds through experiences that connect them to their fellow service members.
Army veteran Natalie Charles said the chance to have fun with other like-minded veterans helped her form connections that are free of judgments.
"Their experiences are your experiences, so you can talk about it with those warriors," she said. "Other veterans understand what civilians don't, and it makes connecting much easier."
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., Jan. 17, 2017 -- Nichole "Nikki" Gettman served honorably in the Army, doing a tour in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom in 2003. However, when she left the military in 2005, she felt disenfranchised and aimless.
"I had a bitter taste in my mouth regarding the military, and I stopped identifying with it," Nikki said. "I was angry and didn't feel that good about my service."
Nikki was battling post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression. She felt paralyzed – incapable of taking her life into her own hands and living the life she wanted. And then she found out about Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP).
HOMESTEAD, Pa., Jan. 17, 2017 -- During a recent Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) fitness workshop, injured veterans tried the popular workout known as TRX (Total Body Resistance Exercise). Participants worked hard to improve their physical health and wellness and while doing so experienced the benefits of connecting with fellow service members.
"I decided to sign up for this because I am looking to improve my overall health," said Army veteran Michael Benner. "But what I ended up liking the most was the chance to be with other wounded warriors. It helps relieve stress and introduces us to people who have lived through the same things."
CINCINNATI, Jan. 16, 2017 -- One-by-one, children as young as 8 years old lined up to take instructions and learn about the game of football. Each was excited about the opportunity to learn from a professional who has won an NFL Championship and now plays for the Cincinnati Bengals.
At the recent Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) connection event, wide receiver Brandon LaFell wore a Bengals-orange shirt while teaching kids about technique, various routes, and catching the football with your hands.
ONTARIO, Calif., Jan. 13, 2017 -- A group of injured veterans witnessed nonstop hockey action during a recent Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) outing to see the Ontario Reign take on the Stockton Heat. As warriors and their guests watched the game, they experienced firsthand what is possible at social gatherings that get them out of the house and connected with fellow service members.
Isolation is one of the most significant struggles wounded warriors deal with after serving their country. It can be difficult knowing how to overcome that challenge and rekindle bonds similar to those formed in the military.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Jan. 12, 2017 -- When Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) launched Warrior Care Network® last year, the goal was to provide treatment and coping skills for today's generation of wounded veterans. Now, Warrior Care Network has proven results.
Take Charles, a warrior who served deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq – and still serves our country today. He asked to keep his identity hidden because of his active-duty role and the stigma associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Charles suffered repeated concussions from numerous incidents on deployment.
WESLEY CHAPEL, Fla., Jan. 12, 2017 -- Worn wooden paintbrushes and sticky, vibrant paint on fingertips can call on childhood recollections of art class. Warriors and families who attended a recent Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) connection event now have fresher memories of exploring their artistic talents – as they enjoyed a pizza dinner and learned about WWP programs at a local pottery studio.
Bernadette Blauvelt, whose husband is a National Guard veteran, owns B Creative Painting Studio and understands the importance of connection in the recovery process. She said she was thrilled to host warriors and families at this WWP gathering.
ANN ARBOR, Mich., Jan. 12, 2017 -- During a recent Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) outing, a group of injured veterans and family members tried their hands at the truly unique game of Whirlyball. The gathering gave warriors a chance to connect with fellow service members and build support networks that help with healthy recoveries.
"Attending events like this gives us that sense of camaraderie we lost when we left military service," said Army veteran Jesse Babson. "For a few hours, we are back among that group of people where we can be ourselves. I don't know where I would be without the support of Wounded Warrior Project."
ORLANDO, Fla., Jan. 12, 2017 -- A group of Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) veterans and family members got to experience a day in the life of a chocolatier during a recent candy-making connection event. As they dabbled in the creation of custom confections, participants experienced what is possible at social events that connect them with fellow service members in their community.
Under the guidance of an expert, the group set about making chocolates with a variety of molds and toppings. In addition to learning a new skill, they were able to bring their sweet treats home with them.