COLUMBIA, S.C., Dec. 2, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A group of injured veterans learned all about the art of glassblowing during a recent Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) program event in Columbia, South Carolina. During the workshop, warriors experienced what is possible when exposed to social events that get them out of the house and engaged with fellow service members.
Participants learned about the ancient craft as a lead glassblower – or gaffer – explained each step of forming colorful and unique items out of molten globs of silica. Then, warriors got involved in the creative process as each one took a turn picking up the large blowpipe.
"I have wanted to learn how to do glassblowing for quite some time," said Air Force veteran Nicholas Marino. "When the opportunity came with Wounded Warrior Project, I jumped on it. I really enjoyed the hands-on learning process, as well as lunch afterward. It was a great chance to get to know other warriors."
WWP program gatherings offer settings that provide opportunities for injured veterans to forge friendships. In a WWP survey of the injured warriors it serves, more than half of survey respondents (51.7 percent) talked with fellow Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, or Operation New Dawn veterans to address their mental health issues.
These program events – held in settings that accommodate injuries and social anxieties – support the long-term recovery needs of warriors by reintroducing them and their families to the unique bonds experienced during military service. Rarely duplicated in the civilian world, these relationships act as a secure bedrock that paves the road to recovery.
"The camaraderie is by far the best part," Nicholas said. "Spending time with people who have gone through similar trials and tribulations helps me get through my tough times. Plus, Wounded Warrior Project gatherings are one of the main ways I am able to get out and talk to new people in a comfortable environment."
As they socialized, wounded warriors worked hard using their newfound skills. By the end of the day, each participant had a self-made glass ornament to keep as a memento of the occasion.
WWP staff members interacted with attendees during the workshop, advising them of additional programs and services to assist their recoveries – programs like Peer Support, which empowers veterans to connect and support one another throughout the healing process, thus embodying the WWP logo of one warrior carrying another off the battlefield.
WWP programs assist injured veterans with mental health, physical health and wellness, career and benefits counseling, and connecting with other warriors and their communities. Like WWP outreach gatherings, these program resources are available to wounded warriors free of charge thanks to the generosity of donors.
To learn more about how WWP's programs and services are making an impact on the lives of wounded warriors, visit https://newsroom.woundedwarriorproject.org/.
About Wounded Warrior Project
We Connect, Serve, and Empower
The mission of Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) is to honor and empower Wounded Warriors. WWP connects wounded warriors and their families to valuable resources and one another, serves them through a variety of free programs and services, and empowers them to live life on their own terms. WWP is a national, nonpartisan organization headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida. To get involved and learn more, visit woundedwarriorproject.org.
SOURCE Wounded Warrior Project