NEW ORLEANS, April 4, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Wounded veterans got a rare perspective of historic New Orleans when they kayaked through the Bayou St. John neighborhood. Also known as Faubourg St. John and established in 1708, it is one of the oldest neighborhoods in New Orleans.
The group of wounded veterans came together through an event planned by Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP). As attendees departed to view historical architecture and learn about the area, the guide told stories about neighborhood homes and recalled the history of the bayou area.
"I enjoyed the day because we were able to meet up with other WWP Alumni to create a bond that is unique from those we surround ourselves with day-to-day," said Army veteran and WWP Alumna Tenesha Whorton.
By bonding through events and programs, wounded veterans learn they are not alone. The WWP Alumni program creates support through shared experiences and brings injured veterans together to build camaraderie. The WWP Alumni program is one of 20 direct programs and services offered free of charge to wounded service members, their caregivers, and families.
"There wasn't anything in particular about kayaking that interested me; the main thing was being able to hang out with other WWP Alumni," Tenesha said.
For WWP, the term Alumni indicates a mutually shared experience and denotes your earned place in an organization.
On the return trip, injured service members reignited a sense of military camaraderie even though many just met for the first time. WWP staff talked to each Alumni about the various programs and services available to wounded veterans, caregivers, and family support members.
Tenesha has been active with WWP programs during her recovery. The Physical Health and Wellness (PH&W) program has been especially integral in her successful transition to civilian life. "I enrolled in the CrossFit program that WWP offered through a local gym here in New Orleans," she said. "It might be cliché to say that this program changed my life, as well as the life of my partner, but that is exactly what it did."
"We were both separated from the Army before we were ready. We were depressed and not as active as before WWP offered this program. We were inspired and motivated to at least try to attend, while thinking we should take advantage of this chance from WWP. Why not?" she said. "We struggled at first, but we are now eight months committed and getting stronger every day. We go at least five days a week," Tenesha continued. "We love our gym and everything WWP did to give us a chance to improve our lives."
"I can honestly say for myself and my partner if it weren't for WWP programs we wouldn't be in the healthy physical and mental state we are in today. I cringe to think of where we might be if it wasn't for the Alumni program and what WWP has been able to offer us," Tenesha said.
Physical Health and Wellness (PH&W) events focus on four key areas, inclusive sports, fitness, nutrition, and wellness. Activities and programs are planned throughout the year for hands-on participation and longer term commitments. Building a strong background of health and wellness is a key component of recovery for injured service members. In February 2016, WWP served 905 wounded veterans through PH&W events. For more information visit https://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/programs/physical-health-wellness.
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.
Photo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160401/350526
Photo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160401/350525
SOURCE Wounded Warrior Project