MASON, Mich. (Jan. 20, 2017) – Before exploring the ocean depths, one must learn the ins and outs of scuba diving. That is just what a group of injured veterans did during a recent Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) workshop. The hands-on instructional gathering allowed warriors to see what is possible when they connect with fellow warriors and their local community.
Participants worked with the Michigan chapter of the Dive Pirates Foundation, a nonprofit organization that trains and equips individuals for adaptive scuba diving. Following the workshop, the Dive Pirates offered participants the opportunity to continue working toward their official scuba certification at no charge.
“The moment I found out about a scuba event, I knew I wanted to try my best to attend,” said Army veteran Joshua Griscavage. “It can be hard for me; I am always hesitant to go to events because I get anxiety. But once I get there and settle down, I feel at home around my fellow warriors.”
After a short introduction to scuba safety and gear functions, the group suited up and paired with instructors for interactive guidance in the pool.
These connection activities support the long-term recovery needs of warriors by reintroducing them and their families to the unique bonds experienced during military service. 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.
“The camaraderie is by far the thing I enjoy most about outings like this,” James said. “It is important for warriors to take part in Wounded Warrior Project events because it helps them engage in activities outside of their normal daily lives and become connected with their service brothers and sisters.”
WWP staff interacted with warriors throughout the day, advising them of additional services and personalized therapeutic outlets to assist in their recovery processes. WWP offers a variety of programs and services that help injured veterans with mental health, physical health and wellness, career and benefits counseling, and connecting with other warriors and their communities. Generous donors make it possible for wounded warriors to take part in outreach activities and benefit from program resources at no cost to them.
“The staff know what they’re talking about and can answer any questions you have,” Joshua said. “If they can’t, they won’t give up until they have found an answer for you, and that means the world to me.”
“To me, Wounded Warrior Project is a family that will always be around, through good times and bad,” James said. “I know they will always have my back, regardless of what I’m going through.”
To learn and see more about how WWP’s programs and services connect, serve, and empower wounded warriors, click on multimedia, then images.
Contact: Mattison Brooks – Public Relations Specialist
About Wounded Warrior Project
Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) connects, serves, and empowers wounded warriors. Read more at http://newsroom.woundedwarriorproject.org/about-us.