MEDFORD, N.J., May 5, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Wounded veterans came together recently to bond with other Alumni at an event hosted by Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) through the L.L. Bean Outdoor Discovery Schools Adventures. Fly fishing and fishing, in general, is a learned skill that can help reduce stress and clear the mind.
Navy veteran and WWP Alumnus Scott Domingue, is a novice fly fisherman and saw this event as a good opportunity to meet fellow veterans with similar interests. "Being able to learn something new and be outdoors on a beautiful day is a great motivator to get out there," he said.
By bonding at events like this, 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.
WWP Alumni gathered at the YMCA Camp Ockanickon in Medford to learn fly fishing basics from local Trout Unlimited chapter volunteers.
"I enjoyed learning how to tie flies and exchanging with the passionate fly fisherman from Trout Unlimited and fellow warriors," Scott said.
Each wounded veteran received a personal instructor for the day, fishing gear, and the goal of mastering a new outdoor skill.
"The guys from the fishing club were very helpful and eager to share their passion for fly fishing," commented John McCool, U.S. Army veteran and WWP Alumnus. "We learned to make flies, assemble and cast lines, and even went to the lake to catch some fish."
Many of the Trout Unlimited volunteers are veterans who made a special effort to attend and teach the wounded veterans that day, and WWP made it possible for Alumni to keep their fly rod, reel, and fly box so they can continue the sport long after the event.
Scott said, "WWP truly does an amazing job partnering with great organizations such as Trout Unlimited, who care about veterans and are generous with their time and resources to ensure we have an amazing experience." Scott says he's fortunate to meet new people at WWP events and feels WWP is doing a great job building a community of support for wounded veterans in our area.
John has only been fishing a few times since being out of the service. His injuries kept him from attending a fishing trip to Ireland at the end of his service in 2005. Before he could go, he became physically ill, and events transpired that led to the diagnosis of his post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury.
The missed Ireland fishing trip, like many things, were lost in the recesses of his mind until he saw the fly fishing WWP Alumni event. "Something moved me to sign up and later that night, the Ireland trip, which had long ago slipped my mind, resurfaced," John said. "I felt a surge of motivation and excitement, snapping me out of another low period."
"I used to really enjoy fishing before joining the military. And now I've been out several times since the WWP fishing activity and am improving my sunfish catching skills," John said. "I even plan to fish in Idaho for cutthroat trout with a former battle buddy now."
WWP understands that nature can speak to everyone in different ways, whether through relaxation or exhilaration. WWP offers Project Odyssey®, which helps injured service members enjoy outdoor and recreational activities, find their inner strength, and have the courage to continue their journey towards recovery. With its name derived from Homer's epic poem about overcoming adversity and finding the way home, Project Odyssey helps wounded veterans overcome combat stress through outdoor, rehabilitative retreats that encourage a connection with nature, their peers, staff, and trained counselors. Activities include horseback riding, canoeing, whitewater rafting, kayaking, rock climbing, a high ropes course, fishing, skeet shooting, sled hockey, and skiing at retreats held in various locations across the country.
In March 2016, 215 WWP Alumni used the great outdoors to begin their road to healing through Project Odyssey. To find out more about WWP's programs and services, please visit 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.
SOURCE Wounded Warrior Project