BALTIMORE, Dec. 27, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- At the recent Army vs. Navy football game, a group of warriors served by Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) toured the ESPN College GameDay set. The gathering was part of WWP's connection program, which provides opportunities for injured veterans to form bonds in settings that accommodate physical injuries and social anxieties.
"Events like this are a chance to get off the couch and put yourself out there," said Navy veteran Damian Smith. "For me, these gatherings are about connecting with other veterans who likely have shared experiences and shared values. It's laughing about the funny stuff that happened to us and reminiscing about our service. Those are moments that I need in my life."
Immediately upon arriving at Baltimore's Inner Harbor, Damian said the mood was electric, with a competitive tension in the air.
"The whole area was packed with people," Damian said. "There were midshipmen and cadets everywhere. Lots of taunting and signs that poked fun at one another's branch of service – I knew I was in for a fun day. The other warriors around me felt it too, I think. There wasn't an empty seat in the house."
Social activities that connect veterans with one another and their communities can help them cope with stress and emotional concerns. 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.
After the game was over, Damian felt like the highs and lows of the game were a close second to his best experience of the day.
"The game was super competitive and a nail-biter down to the end," Damian said. "It was honestly one of the best games I have ever seen. But I've always just enjoyed the chance to meet new warriors and build that community around me. I didn't know anyone coming into this event, but that changed when I left. And yes, as a Navy veteran I was disappointed by the outcome, but Army played well and deserved it this year. I'm glad Wounded Warrior Project got me out here to see it firsthand."
WWP programs assist injured veterans with mental health, physical health and wellness, career and benefits counseling, and connecting with other warriors and their communities. Generous donors make it possible for wounded warriors to take part in connection activities and benefit from program resources at no cost to them.
To learn more about how WWP's programs and services are making an impact on the lives of wounded warriors, visit http://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