DESTIN, Fla., April 21, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A group of twelve injured veterans exchanged stories and shared personal coping mechanisms during a recent three-day fishing retreat at Mid Bay Shores Cabins in Destin, Florida. The outdoor therapy was offered through the Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) Alumni program, which brings injured veterans together to build camaraderie and bonds through events and programs.
This specific event served two purposes: to place injured veterans in a relaxing environment that is close to nature and removed from outside influences, and to identify how the warriors could benefit from each other.
"While I enjoyed the fishing very much," said Alexander Hernandez, U.S. Marine Corps and Army injured veteran and WWP Alumnus, "I learned there are more people out there that go through what I go through."
Peer support plays an important role in the recovery process as injured veterans rely upon each other's learned experiences when managing day-to-day challenges. All WWP programs and services have an aspect of this support structure, while one specific program, the Peer Support program, is dedicated to ensuring every injured veteran, family member, and caregiver support one another in recovery, thus embodying the WWP logo of one warrior carrying another off the battlefield. In February 2016 alone, more than 180 wounded veterans took part in the program. https://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/programs/peer-support.
Alumni events provide a safe and comfortable atmosphere that encourage wounded veterans to rely on teamwork, trust, and communication to build an effective network of support through each other and the Peer Support Group facilitators. With an equal mix of Alumni and group leaders, the retreat brought forth a deeper awareness and understanding of invisible wounds and their impact on injured veterans' lives.
"I learned that I have more damage than I initially realized," said Alexander who deployed five times in his military career, including multiple tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. Alexander, like many injured veterans, coped with his injuries through isolation but has since learned that the road to recovery includes getting off the couch, being engaged, and staying active. In order to serve the unique needs of more than 100,000 injured veterans, their caregivers, and families, WWP offers 20 direct programs and services – all free of charge.
The three-day fishing retreat included two deep-sea fishing charters, where the group was responsible to catch the main course for dinner, which was also prepped and cooked by the injured veterans back at the retreat cabins.
"I almost forgot the connection you get whenever you are around other military soldiers," said Hai Clay, WWP Alumnus and 25-year U.S Army injured veteran. "I haven't had that feeling since I retired a year ago. Wounded Warrior Project brought that back into my life. If this is a taste of what to expect with WWP, I am looking forward to other events and glad to be an Alumnus."
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.
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SOURCE Wounded Warrior Project