WACO, Texas, March 21, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- John Joseph Merlin, the inventor of the roller skate, debuted his wheeled shoes in 1760. Unfortunately, he didn't practice and crashed within seconds. Since then, the sport has evolved, and at a recent Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) Alumni event, wounded veterans and their families found enjoyment at the rink.
The evening included more than exchanging shoes for some four-wheeled boots, as families were able to relax and share time with others who have similar experiences and difficulties adjusting to civilian life after military service. The WWP Alumni program brings these families together at events and activities throughout the year so that participants learn they are not alone. This program is one of 20 direct life-saving programs and services available free of charge to wounded veterans, their caregivers, and family support members.
"I brought my family so they'd have a chance to meet other veterans and their families," Daniel Razo, Marine Corps veteran and WWP Alumnus said.
The 30 WWP Alumni and family members enjoyed pizza, snacks, and laser tag between their trips around the rink at Skate World Waco, where children and adults alike took part in skating games, like limbo.
"We were able to bring the whole family and enjoy ourselves. We especially liked playing laser tag," said Rosa Garcia, wife of Marine Corps veteran and WWP family support member. "My husband and I are new to the WWP family, and look forward to being more involved and participate as best we can."
The Razo family partnered with another veteran's family to challenge all other competitors during an intense laser tag battle. "It brought my family closer to our teammate's family," Daniel said.
Throughout the evening, the Alumni talked with WWP staff and were able to ask specific questions and obtain referrals for WWP programs and services. During the event, three new family support members registered with WWP.
"I am not a veteran, but my husband is," Rosa said. "I enjoy any and all activities that include our brave veterans. That is what moved me to participate in this program. I appreciated all the involvement with WWP staff and sincerely enjoyed the interaction amongst veterans."
Daniel said that his experience with WWP has been incredible. "During the skate night, my wife and I visited with another veteran who we made a strong connection with during a prior WWP event," he said. "And my wife was able to get a better understanding of the similarities we as veterans have -whether it's a Marine veteran like myself or an Army veteran like the individual we bonded with."
During the family skate night, WWP staff obtained referrals for various WWP programs, including the Transition Training Academy (TTA), a hands-on program that helps injured veterans explore a career in the information technology (I.T.) field. TTA instruction is a high-touch blended learning model where instructors engage personally with each student using "learn-by-doing" teaching techniques which increase the student's chance at success. This technique is especially beneficial for injured service members with traumatic brain injury (TBI) or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
In February 2016 alone, 5,367 wounded veterans participated in WWP economic empowerment programs, which include TTA.
About Wounded Warrior Project
The mission of Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) is to honor and empower Wounded Warriors. WWP's 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