By Wounded Warrior Project, Special for USDR
Once wounded in battle, it’s not always easy for warriors to participate in fun physical activities such as surfing and swimming. At a recent volunteer event, Wounded Warrior Project®(WWP) made that dream a reality for many injured veterans, who also spent part of the day helping others with water activities.
“I wasn’t quite sure about surfing because of my injuries, but everyone else was there for the same reasons,” said Marine Corps veteran Jennifer Cannon. “I felt comfortable with trying and knew I was going to be in great hands.”
In addition to having fun with adaptive surfing, shoreline flotation, and swimming, the warriors also helped other wounded veterans participate in the activities.
“Without WWP, I wouldn’t have been able to do something like this,” Jennifer said. “It’s expensive to go surfing in Hawaii, and I’d want to be sure to do it in an environment that is safe for people with disabilities. I will continue to attend program events like this and give back in any way I can while enjoying the activities, too!”
WWP programs provide recovering warriors opportunities to get re-engaged in their communities, which is a vital part of the healing process. Helping others gives warriors a sense of purpose once they’ve returned to the civilian world.
“It was awesome to see the accommodations for the different levels of disabilities and the training for each group of volunteers,” Jennifer said.
Injured warriors took on a variety of responsibilities throughout the day, including water safety, water transport, and equipment check-in and check-out.
“My role during the event was water safety,” said Ben Jury, who is in the National Guard. “It seemed that everyone was enjoying themselves, and I’d say we all got a lot out of the day – just as much as the participants.”
Jennifer said all the volunteers were very skilled and professional, and it showed on the faces of everyone having a good time in the water.
“The magic of the ocean can provide so much enjoyment to someone with a disability or special needs,” Ben said. “The salt air, the crashing waves, and the huge smiles and excitement on the faces of the participants helped me forget about my own pain so I could help others deal with their own hardships.”
Isolation is one of the most significant struggles wounded warriors can 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. Opportunities like this give warriors the chance to connect with each other.
“I got to meet new warriors and reconnect with friends,” Ben said. “We always get along and understand each other since we deal with the same issues and injuries. It’s always great telling stories from our time in the military.”
WWP programs are offered free of charge for a lifetime, and they are designed to ease the burdens of warriors, their caregivers, and families by aiding in the recovery process and smoothing the transition into civilian life.
These programs are personalized to enable warriors, caregivers, and family members to reach educational and employment goals, and recover physically, mentally, and emotionally.
About Wounded Warrior Project
The mission of Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) is to honor and empower Wounded Warriors. The WWP purpose is to raise awareness and to enlist the public’s aid for the needs of injured service members, to help injured servicemen and women aid and assist each other, and to provide unique, direct programs and services to meet their needs. WWP is a national, nonpartisan organization headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida. To get involved and learn more, visit woundedwarriorproject.org.
SOURCE Wounded Warrior Project
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