Healing In The Great Outdoors: Heroes on the Water Include Injured Service Members
JACKSONVILLE, Fla., March 18, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) Alumni joined veterans from all generations to bait their hooks during the Northeast Florida Chapter of Heroes on the Water (HOW) this week at Browns Creek in Jacksonville, Fla. Nearly 60 veterans attended the unique kayak fishing event that provided opportunities to engage other service members and build stronger bonds in the veteran community – all while receiving outdoor therapy essential to recovery.
"I enjoy being on the water and fishing immensely, so it was clear to me to get on this event," said Michael Johnson, Alumnus of WWP. "This trip actually made sense, was fun, and I look forward to doing it again in the near future."
In the morning the injured veterans shared stories, coffee, and donuts before being divided into smaller groups for kayak fishing. Each group was assigned a guide to help set up fishing gear and lead the team to the best fishing locations on the water.
"It was good to visit with some of my fellow service men and women that I haven't seen in several years," said Michael. "I enjoyed my interaction with the members of my kayaking team, making new contacts, and spending time with old acquaintances."
Michael and the other wounded veterans learned a lot from the event and each other.
"I learned that normal kayaking is different from kayak fishing," said Michael, who suffers from persistent shoulder pain. Michael explained how there are different levels of balance for kayak fishing. "Although out of my comfort zone with paddling, I adapted fairly well, and I look forward to doing it again."
The event was a success, and WWP ensured a peer support facilitator attended.
WWP believes the peer support role is crucial in the recovery process. As such, the organization created its Peer Support program, with the goal of every wounded veteran and family support member to support his or her fellow group members in recovery, thus embodying the WWP logo of one warrior carrying another off the battlefield.
"I enjoyed all the camaraderie between WWP Alumni and veterans from previous generations and having the chance to share stories and experiences," said Jammie Landin, WWP Alumnus and peer support facilitator. "Once injured warriors get to a point where we are in a good place, sharing what we have experienced with other warriors is important – it lets us know that we are not alone, and there is a common bond among us."
In February alone, nearly 182 wounded veterans took part in the Peer Support program. http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/programs/peer-support.aspx.
"My takeaway: I now understand the joy that comes from being on the water via a kayak," said Michael. "This was one of the most enjoyable outdoor adventures that I've been on."
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