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Surf’s Up with Wounded Warrior Project

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. – Nathaniel Heath-Price loves a good adrenaline rush. But the Army veteran lost the ability to participate in exciting events following a motorcycle crash in 2018.

Nathaniel survived the crash but still deals with the effects of a severe traumatic injury. His mom stepped in to provide daily care for Nathaniel. Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) also stepped up with support from its Independence Program to help improve Nathaniel’s life.

Read how WWP’s Independence Program supports warriors and families.

Nathaniel recently got a taste of adventure while surfing with WWP and Oceans of Hope Foundation, a nonprofit that helps provide access to the ocean for individuals with disabilities. Nathaniel’s mom, Stacey, speaks for him.

“Wounded Warrior Project and Oceans of Hope got a special team assembled,” Stacey Hawley said. “They got him out on the water, and they let him ride the waves in.”

While this is Nathaniel’s second year in the water with WWP and Oceans of Hope, Army veteran Phillip Adkinson celebrated his first time surfing.

“It is really the first time I have been on a surfboard,” Phillip said.

Phillip survived a viral infection while deployed in Iraq. Doctors had to remove part of his frontal lobe to save him, which led to Phillip needing to relearn day-to-day skills. He still lives with short-term memory issues, migraines, and seizures. But for a day, those challenges were set aside.

“It felt really good to be on a surfboard and catch a wave,” Phillip said.

WWP’s Independence Program helped Phillip and Nathaniel enjoy a day at the beach. The program has also helped them with in-home care, occupational therapies, and connection with other veterans. For Stacey and her son Nathaniel, engaging events like adaptive surfing help provide not only excitement but encouragement as well.

“It was fun last year. We were excited to come this year, and we will be even more excited for next year,” Stacey said. 

Contact: Rob Louis, Public Relations,, 904.627.0432

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.

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