HAGERSTOWN, Md. (Jan. 30, 2017) – A group of injured veterans recently connected at a recurring Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) dinner and trivia event. Participants teamed up, engaged in a good-natured battle for bragging rights, and experienced the benefits of getting out into the community and connecting with fellow service members.
“Everyone loves this particular event because it’s so casual and laid-back without any awkward pressure,” said Army veteran Laura Wilkinson. “Normally I’m a secluded person, but this gets me out of the house. It’s nice to be able to reach out for a hand to hold, especially when it’s the hand of a fellow warrior.”
“We really enjoy attending these monthly dinners,” said Amanda Asaf, whose husband is an Army veteran. “It gives us a chance to socialize with the friends we’ve made through Wounded Warrior Project and meet new ones.”
Old friends and new acquaintances chatted over dinner and discussed programs offered by WWP and partner organizations such as The Mission Continues and Team Red, White & Blue. After the meal, the group split into teams and amped up the competitive spirit for the trivia match.
“I love the trivia contests and seeing everyone’s true military selves come out when the rivalry starts up,” said Army veteran John Fiery. “But the best part is the camaraderie. Our group has more than doubled since the first night we met up last year. Nowadays, it’s a rush to sign up for the trivia gathering before it’s full.”
These connection activities support the long-term recovery needs of warriors by reintroducing them and their families to the unique bonds experienced during military service. 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.
“It’s very important for wounded warriors to participate in activities like this – and this is coming from a guy who used to be skeptical about what getting together with other veterans could do,” John said. “Being with people who have gone through the challenge of being broken and having to put things back together is very cathartic. This is the first time since I left the military that I really felt at home again, and my wife and children would say the same. Nothing can replace the feeling of being with fellow military families.”
“Wounded Warrior Project has brought life back into our family – and brought my husband out from a dark time,” Amanda said. “He didn’t have any local friends, and neither of us has strong connections to our families. But this organization has become a family. They accept my husband for who he is without judgment. They accept our loud, energetic kids without criticism. My husband leaves every event with a smile on his face because he knows he’s not fighting his battle alone and he has friends he can lean on when he’s down.”
WWP staff interacted with attendees over dinner, advising them of additional services to support their recoveries. Thanks to generous donors, WWP programs are offered free of charge for a lifetime, and they are designed to ease the burdens on warriors, their caregivers, and families, by aiding in their healing and smoothing the transition into civilian life.
“I am involved with the Warriors to Work® program, and they are helping me update and fine-tune my resume,” John said. “Everything Wounded Warrior Project offers is just amazing. The programs are life-changing and life-saving for so many veterans.”
Contact: Rob Louis – Public Relations Specialist
About Wounded Warrior Project
Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) connects, serves, and empowers wounded warriors. Read more at https://newsroom.woundedwarriorproject.org.