Wounded Warrior Project Empowers Veterans, Children to Reconnect
“In the darkest moments of my life, my children were the only light I had. The only thing I could see in the distance, that one speckle of light, was my children. Each day I get closer and closer to that light," said Marine veteran and wounded warrior Bradley Thomas. Bradley's son, Landon, is pictured left.
KINGS BAY, Ga. (May 2, 2017) – Landon Thomas dug his right foot in the back of the batter’s box. Hands held high, eyes focused, body coiled like a spring, he unleashed all the fury his 10-year-old body could muster at the next pitch.
His father, Marine veteran Brad Thomas, stood against the backstop a few feet away and did something that until recently seemed impossible. He smiled.
Landon still remembers the many days his father couldn’t find his way, much less a reason to smile. He knows being a military child often means making sacrifices and being alone during his father’s service and the difficult transition back to civilian life.
Too often that loneliness happened with his father standing in the same room.
“It’s not always easy for him to come to me with issues because some of the time, it was me that caused those issues,” Brad said.
Landon and his sister Elloise motivated their father to find help for his physical and emotional wounds.
Brad turned to Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP).
“I have resources from Wounded Warrior Project programs that I’ve used,” Brad said. “I would have never asked for that help if it wasn’t for my children. If I didn’t have children, there’s no telling where I’d be.
“In the darkest moments of my life, they were the only light I had. The only thing I could see in the distance, that one speckle of light, was my children. Each day I get closer and closer to that light.”
In the process, Landon said he got his father back.
“Most of the time it was hard,” Landon said. “I liked having him home at first, but he was always in pain and not happy. It made me sad for him. Now he’s happy.”
Many WWP programs reconnect veterans with their families during their recoveries. As the son of a 24-year Navy veteran, Brad knows firsthand the sacrifices his children made.
“I could have taken advantage of so many valuable moments in his life and teach him life lessons I never got,” Brad said. “He sees it. He realizes it. He appreciates it.
“You can’t make up for lost time, but you can focus on the time you have right now.”
Brad sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in 2011, along with damage to his back, from an improvised explosive device. He retired in 2015 from the injuries, but he took the struggles of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) into civilian life.
WWP programs are personalized to assist injured veterans with mental health, physical health and wellness, career and benefits counseling, connecting warriors with one another and their communities, and long-term care for the most seriously wounded. All services are provided free of charge to those WWP serves thanks to the generosity of donors.
Now employed at WWP, Brad said WWP career counseling played an important role in his continued recovery.
Back surgery healed some of the physical pain and made him “more funner,” Landon said. “When he got his job at Wounded Warrior Project, he was way different. He is really happy. He even goes to the gym now, and that makes him happy.”
Baseball is another happy place for father and son. Games have become the cornerstone of what Brad now considers “a perfect day.”
“I like it when he’s there,” Landon said.
And he loves to see him smile again.
Contact: Rob Louis – Public Relations
About Wounded Warrior Project
Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) connects, serves, and empowers wounded warriors. Read more at http://newsroom.woundedwarriorproject.org/about-us.