OAHU, Hawaii, Dec. 9, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) veterans and family members recently participated in a community outreach event to help homeless veterans in Hawaii. WWP joined more than 25 organizations taking part in the annual Homeless Veteran Stand Down – an event to provide clothing, food, and resources to homeless veterans in the area. Warriors participating in the volunteer opportunity experienced firsthand what is possible when exposed to social events that connect them with their service brothers and sisters – as well as their local communities.
WWP veterans and their families stayed busy by welcoming and escorting homeless veterans, serving food, and speaking about WWP's free programs and services at the organization's resource table. In addition to the meal, participating volunteer organizations provided clothing and access to several resources that focused on legal rights, housing, and benefits assistance.
The chance to support fellow wounded warriors was too good for Marine veteran Lonnie Martin to pass up.
"Volunteering to help others feeds my soul," Lonnie said. "This event focused on homeless veterans, so I wanted to be a part of it in any way I could. I'm so happy Wounded Warrior Project got involved. Otherwise, I don't think I would have been aware of it. I love when we as a veteran community come together for a collective impact."
These outreach activities support the long-term recovery needs of warriors by reintroducing them and their families to the unique bonds experienced during military service – in settings that accommodate physical injuries and social anxieties. These relationships act as a secure bedrock that paves the road to recovery.
"I loved being with my fellow veterans," Lonnie said. "The camaraderie we share at events like this makes it awesome beyond words. There are very few times I am social or that I actually get out, so when I do, I try to make it worth it. Working and talking with veterans like me always makes my day."
Forging connections with fellow veterans is why Lonnie is also heavily involved with his local WWP Peer Support Group. The program is dedicated to ensuring every injured veteran, family member, and caregiver encourages one another in recovery, thus embodying the WWP logo of one warrior carrying another off the battlefield.
"That group has literally saved my life," Lonnie said. "I could go on and on about the value of that program."
Whether it is through Peer Support Groups or attending outreach events, Lonnie said veterans in need of assistance – be it physical, mental, or social – should reach out to WWP and get connected.
WWP programs assist injured veterans with mental health, physical health and wellness, career and benefits counseling, and connecting with other warriors and their communities.
"These gatherings help us develop relationships with others like us," Lonnie said. "Finding common ground for veterans is extremely difficult. The challenges we face adjusting after combat are so hard on our minds, hearts, souls, and support networks. It makes a world of difference knowing we are not alone."
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.
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.
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SOURCE Wounded Warrior Project