MARION, Ala., Jan. 5, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The chill in the air is a sign of more than just the arrival of winter – it's the arrival of deer season in Alabama. For a group of injured service members served by Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP), it was not only a chance to bag a prize buck, but it was also an opportunity to see old friends – and make new ones.
"When you pull up to the main gate with the Wounded Warrior Project flag flying alongside the American flag, it blows you away," said Air Force veteran John Hacker. "The beautiful land and scenery really puts you in a good place. It's peaceful, and the staff pull you in and make you feel like part of the family. From the first handshake, I felt welcome."
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. WWP connection events like this give wounded warriors an opportunity to connect with fellow service members and their community.
"Gathering with other warriors means the world to me," John said. "I was close to the men and women I served with. So having a group that understands you and what you've been through is beyond therapeutic. Getting together, shooting some guns, and just unwinding can work wonders."
Activities that connect veterans can help them cope with stress and emotional concerns. In a WWP survey of the injured warriors it serves, more than half of survey respondents (51.7 percent) talked with fellow Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, or Operation New Dawn veterans to address their mental health issues, and 29.6 percent expressed physical activity helps.
"I love hunting," John explained. "But it's beyond difficult to do on your own, due to limitations and access to land. I've hunted my whole life. It's a great way to relax, put food on the table for your family, and just enjoy Mother Nature. I was fortunate enough to kill a very nice size eight-pointer with a wide rack. This actually came after five minutes of texting the person in charge to ensure I was good to shoot and that it was the size they wanted shot. Once given clearance, I dropped him right where he stood."
Thanks to generous donors, WWP programs are offered to warriors free of charge, and they are designed to ease the burdens on veterans, their caregivers, and families by aiding in the recovery process and smoothing the transition into civilian life. The programs assist injured veterans with mental health, physical health and wellness, career and benefits counseling, and connecting with other warriors and their communities.
"I would tell other warriors there are people who still care and are there for you when you need a hand," John said. "Wounded Warrior Project has been the most helpful rehabilitation therapy I've come across. They constantly take care of you and go above and beyond to ensure you enjoy any gathering you attend and forget about everything else."
To learn more about how WWP's programs and services are making an impact on the lives of wounded warriors, visit http://newsroom.woundedwarriorproject.org/. To find photos from this event, click on multimedia, then images.
About Wounded Warrior Project
We Connect, Serve, and Empower
The mission of Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) is to honor and empower Wounded Warriors. WWP connects wounded warriors and their families to valuable resources and one another, serves them through a variety of free programs and services, and empowers them to live life on their own terms. WWP is a national, nonpartisan organization headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida. To get involved and learn more, visit woundedwarriorproject.org.
SOURCE Wounded Warrior Project