OKLAHOMA CITY, April 19, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A recent two-hour hike through the Martin Park Nature Center connected veterans with one another and Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) in a springtime setting – far from the hustle of everyday life.
Army veteran Melissa Dunn-Mathes and WWP organized the 2.5-mile hike, and it quickly turned into something more significant than a walk through the woods.
"It was awesome to get outside and away from everyday life so we could focus on new experiences," Melissa said. "More than anything else, the camaraderie of it all was empowering."
Activities like hiking and socializing with other veterans can help injured warriors 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 veterans to address their mental health issues, and 29.6 percent expressed physical activity helps.
For Melissa, the hike provided a big step in her healing process.
"It's not often I take control like that, but I felt comfortable out there," she said. "I go hiking all the time, but I think it was the experience with the other warriors that made me even more comfortable. I took everyone to my favorite bridge where we all relaxed and talked. There was so much laughter, so much joy."
The hike got wounded veterans out of the house to engage with fellow warriors, limiting the common struggle of isolation faced by many returning from war. It can be difficult knowing how to overcome that challenge and rekindle bonds similar to those formed in the military.
The group also connected with Navy veteran Andrew Johnson, who invited warriors on the hike to join his rowing club – at no cost.
"I didn't even know that place existed," Andrew said. "I will do this again. I plan on going back with my son."
To learn and see more about how WWP's programs and services connect, serve, and empower wounded warriors, visit https://newsroom.woundedwarriorproject.org/.
About Wounded Warrior Project
Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) connects, serves, and empowers wounded warriors.
SOURCE Wounded Warrior Project