Wounded warrior Taniki Richard shared what Wounded Warrior Project® has meant in her recovery. Click on the above image to see more.
GREENVILLE, N.C. (June 14, 2017) – During a recent military appreciation game, the East Carolina University (ECU) Pirates welcomed Marine Corps veteran Taniki Richards to throw out the first pitch. For Taniki, it was more than just a chance to kick off the baseball game. It was an opportunity to represent the charity she loves – Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP).
“Wounded Warrior Project has been such a blessing to me and my husband, who is my caregiver,” Taniki said. “The network of other veterans who have been through what I have been through, who struggle like I do with post-traumatic stress and military sexual trauma, makes me feel like I belong. It makes me whole to spend time with those other warriors, and they’re a big part of my recovery.”
WWP has served Taniki since 2013, and she continues finding new ways to challenge herself and grow. Like many wounded warriors returning to civilian life, she has set helpful goals for her road to recovery.
“It seems like a simple act, throwing out the first pitch, but it’s so much more,” Taniki said. “Events like this help me challenge myself and share my experience. It makes me feel strong and empowered – especially after coming back from deployment and needing the care that I did. It helps me to stay engaged in the community instead of hiding alone in my home.”
The Pirates made that connection easy – they were welcoming, friendly, and made a lasting impression on Taniki.
“Military appreciation days are found everywhere, but they matter a lot,” Taniki said. “ECU acknowledging veterans at their game means people still care about our wellbeing, we aren't forgotten, and we are important. It shows there is still a community effort to include veterans in society. I loved meeting the ECU baseball team! Each player personally shook my hand and thanked me for my service. They were full of smiles and appreciation, and so was I. It was a happy and proud moment for me.”
However, Taniki had a few jitters walking up to the mound and throwing the ball across home plate.
“Honestly, I was so nervous about throwing the ball in front of everyone,” Taniki said. “Anxiety kicked in, my arm felt weak once I got on the mound, but I survived! I got the ball close enough to the plate, so I think I accomplished what I needed to!”
Taniki said there are parallels between her experiences on the mound and her experiences as a warrior served by WWP.
“I realized I can still be my very best in moments when I am feeling my worst,” Taniki said. “There are others who struggle with the invisible wounds of war – going and doing regular things becomes a challenge. But I will always remember that I don't have to give up. No matter what comes my way, I will try my best, and despite how I’m feeling in the moment, I’ll throw my very best pitch to make it toward home.”
To learn more about how WWP’s programs and services are making an impact on the lives of wounded warriors, visit https://newsroom.woundedwarriorproject.org. To find photos from this event, click on multimedia, then images.
Contact: Mattison Brooks – Public Relations Specialist
About Wounded Warrior Project
Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) connects, serves, and empowers wounded warriors. Read more at https://newsroom.woundedwarriorproject.org.