VICTORIA, Minn., Dec. 2, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- It was lock and load for a group of wounded veterans, steeling themselves against the cool autumn air at Marsh Lake Hunting Club. Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) brought them together to enjoy a day of duck and pheasant hunting, as well as clay pigeon shooting.
Army veteran Joseph Hill arrived at the hunting club to find familiar faces, both among the staff and the warriors – it was not his first WWP rodeo. Still, the few new faces in the crowd gave him a familiar sense of nervousness, something he experienced at his first WWP gathering.
"Of course there's always that hesitation meeting new people at events like this," Joseph explained. "That goes away after the first safety briefing when you realize everyone around you feels the same way and is there for the same thing: to meet people and shoot guns. The staff took the time to make introductions for everyone, so no one felt left out. That level of care goes a long way."
WWP staff stood by as the shooting commenced, chatting with the warriors about their respective recoveries and offering information about the programs and services that might be useful to them.
"It's a lame pun, but it was an absolute blast," Joseph enthused. "I do not get out shooting nearly as much as I used to, so it was good getting back into it again. I would say it was probably the highlight of my year."
For many warriors, the experiences they had in the military were some of the best of their lives, filled with fellowship, meaning, and direction. But isolation is one of the most significant struggles wounded warriors deal with after serving their country. It can be difficult knowing how to overcome that challenge and rekindle bonds similar to those formed in the military.
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. The opportunity to connect with others was important to Joseph, as he fired away at birds of feather and clay.
"That camaraderie of shooting guns with your fellow veterans isn't something I can get every day," Joseph explained. "I would never get to experience it if it weren't for events like this. Just being around other warriors and doing something we all enjoyed from our time in the military – shooting guns, joking around with each other – are some good memories to relive. I wouldn't be able to do that if Wounded Warrior Project didn't get us all together at events like this."
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