Wounded Warrior Project Helps Veterans Build Camaraderie

Wounded Warrior Project
Group picture of veterans at the Physical Health and Wellness Expo in Pensacola Beach, Florida (2015)
Camaraderie is the spirit of friendship and community in a group, like the camaraderie of soldiers at war who keep each other upbeat despite the difficulty of their circumstances.

Wounded Warrior Project has been a godsend in my life. It started with the first program I attended about a year ago and has only continued to get better. I didn’t realize I was eligible for WWP until my friend Jessica, also a veteran, told me about it a couple years ago. Then I saw an announcement from the organization confirming that they also serve veterans with Post Traumatic Stress from military sexual trauma. It took me a little while but I finally signed up and got involved in the summer of 2014.

The first event I attended was a Project Odyssey for female veterans at the Appalachian Mountain Club in New Hampshire. It was amazing. I met a bunch of fellow veterans who I immediately connected with and we didn’t even have to talk about what we went through. We were all there for the same reason: to find a way to work through the issues and have the life we want. Unfortunately, the event was cancelled due to a no fault vehicle accident that occurred on the first day. I look forward to the opportunity to attend another female veteran Project Odyssey event in the future.

The next event I attended was a couple’s Project Odyssey at the same Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) in New Hampshire. I was psyched to go back to the Crawford Notch State Park area because it is located in the beautiful White Mountain National Forest. The AMC Highland Center isn’t that far from where I live so I was surprised at how much I learned about what they have to offer for recreation in this area. I realized that there was lot more to see right here in my backyard and I look forward to exploring every inch of it. The Project Odyssey for couples was a mix of fun activities, recreation, nature, movement, and bonding. The most valuable lesson learned was all of us were dealing with the same issues. It was validating.

Wounded Warrior Project sends out regional e-mails called the Post. The Post keeps you updated with the events in your region and around the country. About nine months after the couple’s retreat, my husband and I learned about the Healthy Cooking Bootcamp at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. My husband did most of the cooking for the household because I had a hard time multi-tasking in the kitchen.  Learning how to cook healthy has improved our lives greatly. We work as a team now to ensure we get our nutrition. WWP has ended this particular program but they are expanding on the concept and providing more opportunities for cooking classes in our regions.

This month I attended the WWP Physical Health and Wellness Expo at the Andrews Institute for Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine in Florida. I absolutely loved everything about what I learned at this place. I had done a ton of research the year prior trying to rebuild my life after the injuries I sustained in the military and was so relieved to learn that I was on the right track. The trainers were professional and helped simplify what is a very overwhelming process if you try to learn about physical heath and wellness on-line. They helped organize the nutrition information, taught us how to heal our physical injuries, use proper body stance, and prevent further injuries in the future, and fed us all the foods we needed to sustain. They gave us the tools to rebuild our bodies and succeed.

Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) takes a holistic approach when serving warriors and their families to nurture the mind and body, and encourage economic empowerment and engagement. Through a high-touch and interactive approach, WWP hopes to foster the most successful, well-adjusted generation of wounded service members in our nation’s history. (How We Serve)

Wounded Warrior Project is definitely investing in veterans with both physical and mental wounds.  The programs offered by WWP are a nice compliment to what the VA is currently doing but WWP is taking it a step further. WWP “takes a holistic approach when serving warriors and their families to nurture the mind and body, and encourage economic empowerment and engagement.” The most important aspect of all these events is having fun and meeting my fellow veterans and their spouses. We are sharing information, replacing old memories with new ones, and building friendships and a community that allows us to support one another on the good days and the bad. The thing I miss the most about serving in the military was the camaraderie and now I got it back.

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