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Marine Veteran Giving Back to Fellow Vets through 5K

Growing up 30 minutes south of Los Angeles in the 1980s, Sal Abrica had a choice to make.

“Be a gang member or be a bookworm,” he recalls.

Sal chose the latter and, after graduating high school, he made another choice that would impact the rest of his life.

“I couldn’t be a police officer because I was too young for that…so I joined the Marine Corps in 1989,” Sal said.

Eight years of service took him around the world, including Somalia as part of Operation Restore Hope. His final stop was at Camp Pendleton, where he left the Corps and began his transition to civilian life.

In 2019, 30 years after that initial choice to serve his country, Sal made another choice to serve, this time to his fellow veterans. And it began with a question to his new employer.

“Do we have any veteran outreach programs?” Sal asked.

Sal knew the importance of connecting with veterans in southern California.

“Most veterans don’t leave San Diego,” Sal said. “Once they’re here, they stay, no matter where they come from.”

His employer said they didn’t have any outreach programs but that he could start one if he wanted to.

So Sal formed a team to participate in the Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) Carry Forward® 5K, presented by USAA®.

Every year, Sal and his squad have grown, both in numbers and in fundraising. But it’s not about the money-it’s about what the money supports. All money raised during Carry Forward supports WWP’s life-changing programs and services, including in mental health.

“I carry for those who have yet to come home. Physically, they're here. Mentally, they’re somewhere else,” Sal said.

Which is why he encourages everyone to give back to those who have given so much.

“Veterans need our help,” Sal said. “You don't know when it's going to happen. When that phone call comes in, if you don't have a resource to direct them to, you're hurting yourself and that veteran who’s calling you.”

Sal answered the call by raising nearly $8,000 over three years through Carry Forward. That’s enough to send more than 30 warriors to a WWP connection event, which can reintroduce injured veterans to unique bonds experienced in the military. Warriors and their families never pay a penny for any WWP program or service; they already paid their dues on the battlefield.

Join Sal in supporting veterans by participating in Carry Forward and learn more about the programs and services WWP provides.

Contact: Chris Obarski — Public Relations, cobarski@woundedwarriorproject.org, 904.570.0823

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.