PITTSBURGH, April 15, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Although there are many ways to build, enhance, and maintain neighborhoods, one way to create a sense of comfort and community is through beautification projects. This purpose brought Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) Alumni together for a landscaping project at Veterans Place. Beyond the sod and planting, wounded veterans had the opportunity to share with residents of the homeless shelter who are learning how to get on their feet once again.
On the east side of Pittsburgh, Veterans Place permanently houses close to 50 homeless veterans. Other homeless veterans arrive daily for meals, laundry, and to receive training and counseling in preparation for gainful employment.
"The purpose of Veterans Place is to get veterans back on their feet," said Lenny Strazza, Army veteran and WWP Alumni volunteer. "Many of the veterans I visited with during the project said this place saved their lives, and they are getting jobs and the counseling they need to get back on their feet. It's great to hear about where they are now from where they were."
A sense of belonging is important for almost everyone, especially those wounded during their military service. WWP's Alumni program brings injured veterans together to build camaraderie and bond through events and programs. Through these interactions, wounded veterans learn they are not alone. The WWP Alumni program is one of 20 direct programs and services offered free of charge to wounded service members, their caregivers, and families.
Lenny feels not enough people know about WWP. "Wounded Warrior Project does a lot for wounded veterans and I try to spread the word as much as possible to other veterans and the general public."
Not having extensive landscaping experience, Lenny said he learns from others at WWP Alumni events. "This project was mostly outside work and one of the great things about these type of events is that you can always learn from others and take this knowledge with you."
A Purple Heart Memorial in front of Veterans Place is flanked by two small hills that were in desperate need of some attention. WWP provided the landscaping materials and WWP staff and Alumni worked to make the area come to life.
Lenny said, "We worked to beautify the living standards for these veterans; the landscaping is a two part project we'll be finishing later this month."
"Being a wounded and disabled vet, I like to do what I can for other veterans," Lenny said. "I participate in community projects with WWP as much as possible. The opportunity to help at Veterans Place was inspiring, but the lunch and sharing time with veterans living there was the best part of the day."
After the day's labor, WWP provided lunch for Alumni and some of the homeless veterans and staff of Veterans Place.
"We could have just water and potato chips for lunch and it would have been time well spent," Lenny commented. "Taking the time to socialize was far more important than the actual landscaping, and we look forward to heading back for the second half of the project later this month. For the veterans going through a transition and staying at Veterans Place, it's a welcome chance to interact with veterans from outside of the home."
Through a high-touch and interactive approach, the WWP vision is to foster the most successful, well-adjusted generation of wounded service members in our nation's history. More than 100,000 wounded veterans, caregivers, and family members receive access to WWP programs and services, all of which are free of charge.
In February 2016, WWP served 5,367 wounded veterans and family support members through economic empowerment programs which include Benefits Service and Warriors to Work®; the latter of which matches skills with employers, helps injured service members with their resumes and prepares them for interviews. Learn more on WWP's economic empowerment programs at https://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/programs.
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/20160415/355870
Photo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160415/355869
SOURCE Wounded Warrior Project