LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (Feb. 8, 2017) – A group of injured veterans and their families were served eggs with a side of time travel during a recent breakfast at the Walt Disney World® T-REX™ restaurant with Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP). As they enjoyed a meal in a unique and imagination-inducing environment, warriors experienced firsthand what is possible at gatherings that get them out of the house and connected with fellow service members.
These connection activities support the long-term recovery needs of warriors by reintroducing them to the unique bonds experienced during military service. Isolation is one of the most significant struggles veterans deal with after serving their country. It can be difficult knowing how to overcome that challenge and rekindle those friendships.
“Once we leave the military, we tend to keep to ourselves and stay home,” said Air Force veteran Richard Zacke. “We lose the camaraderie we had in service. Being around other veterans who understand what you are going through – regardless of whether the injuries are visible – really helps.”
More than 50 participants attended a buffet-style breakfast, set up in the midst of prehistoric creatures and vegetation. Children were treated to a special surprise when they were invited to build customized dinosaurs.
“It was a really great family event,” Richard said. “My two boys love dinosaurs, and they loved getting the chance to build their own and bring them home.”
Over the course of the meal, veterans interacted with fellow warriors in their area and met the leader of their local Peer Support Group. Peer support plays an important role in the recovery process as injured veterans rely upon one another’s learned experiences when managing day-to-day challenges. All WWP programs and services have an aspect of this support structure, while the Peer Support program is solely dedicated to ensuring every injured veteran, family member, and caregiver encourages one another in recovery, thus embodying the WWP logo of one warrior carrying another off the battlefield.
While enjoying breakfast, WWP staff members advised attendees of additional services to assist in their recovery processes. Programs help injured veterans with mental health, physical health and wellness, career and benefits counseling, and connecting with other warriors and their communities. Through the generosity of donors, these programs are available to warriors and their families at no cost to them.
“Soldier Ride® was an important program for me and my recovery,” Richard said. “Wounded Warrior Project introduced me to the recumbent tricycle, and I have fallen in love with it. It benefits my family as well because it encouraged my wife and kids to get bikes of their own.”
In a WWP survey of the injured warriors it serves, 29.6 percent of survey respondents expressed physical activity helps them cope with stress and emotional concerns. Programs like this highlight the importance of managing mental health through physical activity.
“I feel like I am a part of something,” Richard said. “Wounded Warrior Project really cares about the people it serves. Every time I am at a connection event, or even when checking my email, I know the employees and volunteers are doing this because they truly care about us.”
To learn and see more about how WWP’s programs and services connect, serve, and empower wounded warriors, visit https://newsroom.woundedwarriorproject.org and click on multimedia.
Contact: Rob Louis – Public Relations
About Wounded Warrior Project
Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) connects, serves, and empowers wounded warriors. Read more at https://newsroom.woundedwarriorproject.org.