WASHINGTON, Feb. 27, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Twenty-six wounded warriors served by Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) met with members of Congress and their staffs to advocate for themselves and other veterans as part of WWP's Project Advocacy, which connects warriors with their elected officials in Washington, DC.
Warriors and WWP staff conducted 40 meetings, discussing toxic exposure, mental health, and women veterans — WWP's top legislative priorities.
Warriors also shared the challenges they have faced during recovery from their injuries and transition to civilian life. Army Spc. John Palmer illustrated that the voice of America's veterans is invaluable when implementing change.
"I tell veterans that if they want change, that change begins with us," said Palmer. "Warriors need to advocate for the change they want to see, and our efforts will pave the way for the veterans who follow after us."
Other warriors were challenged by the nature of the event, overcoming social anxieties and physical limitations to speak up for a generation of wounded veterans.
"The biggest issue, like most events, was showing up because I have a lot of physical issues, and they tend to kickstart my emotional issues relating to those injuries," said Army Spc. Ryan Pearson. "But behind every veteran issue is a person. To be able to put my voice forward to explain how drastic some of these health challenges have been means a great deal."
By speaking with warriors, Congress members and their staff not only gained a valuable perspective on these critical issues — they were able to discuss solutions.
"Meeting with the representatives when we told our stories, you could see their passion and motivation," said Army Spc. Yomari Cruz. "That triggered additional questions and discussion that allowed us to share our firsthand experiences. For me, it means that coming out here and having the courage to be the voice for our brothers and sisters is actually making a difference."
"It's important for veterans to help our leaders come up with solutions to problems," said Army Staff Sgt. Cody Chism. "This advocacy event provided us with an opportunity to engage our elected officials at the highest level so that positive change can take place."
"The work we do is no substitute for warriors themselves speaking with our nation's leaders. That's why events like today's matter," said Jose' Ramos, WWP government and community relations vice president. "It gives those who live these realities every day a chance to make their voices heard about what they're experiencing. We're proud of the work they did today and the conversations we were able to have. True progress can only come from understanding."
These 26 warriors also attended a joint hearing of the Senate and House Veterans Affairs and Armed Services committees, where WWP CEO Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Mike Linnington discussed WWP's top legislative priorities for 2020. To see the full testimony, click here.
About Wounded Warrior Project
Since 2003, Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) has been meeting the growing needs of warriors, their families, and caregivers – helping them achieve their highest ambition. Learn more.
SOURCE Wounded Warrior Project