PITTSBURGH (Feb. 22, 2016) – Video game night made a triumphant return to the Pittsburgh Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) office, providing injured veterans with a night of friendly competition, food, and fellowship. Stack-Up, a charity organization that brings veterans and civilian supporters together through a shared love of video gaming, co-hosted the event with WWP. While video gaming often carries the stereotype of being an anti-social activity, it’s the opposite for one Marine Corps veteran.
“I love going to Wounded Warrior Project events because they give me a chance to connect with other veterans,” said wounded warrior George Powell. “The game nights have been my favorite by far. With the way these gatherings are set up, anyone can jump in and out of the different game sessions. It makes it comfortable and easy to meet everyone.”
For George, gaming not only offers a chance to connect with warriors at WWP’s office but also outside of it – online, whenever he wants to. 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, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
“Video games have always been a big thing in my life; I played them growing up,” George said. “And they continued to be a big part of my life after leaving the military. I have PTSD, and there are days where the anxiety is pretty intense. I don’t get out as often as I would like. Gaming helps me stay connected with the outside world and my friends on those days when I feel that way. I can get online, connect with a friend, and talk about how I’m feeling. There’s no judgment, and while I’m doing that, I can also have a bit of fun in the process.”
For many veterans, the experiences they had in the military were some of the best of their lives, filled with camaraderie, meaning, and direction. But upon return to civilian life, the isolation they face can be one of the most significant struggles wounded warriors deal with. It can be difficult knowing how to overcome that challenge.
WWP and Stack-Up have hosted several game nights at WWP offices to provide bonding opportunities that extend beyond a single gathering.
“There were people I knew from the previous event, but there were new faces as well,” George said. “It was déjà vu watching them step into the room. The new warriors took a minute to absorb what was around them and see who everyone was. They warmed up real quick once the games got started. I met another veteran who was in the process of getting a service dog. He told me how I could do the same if I needed it – and I got that information from him because we had that chance to connect. I think that’s why I enjoyed this so much – it goes way beyond just getting together to eat some pizza and play games. We have a chance to help one another and build that trust.”
WWP programs assist injured veterans with mental health, physical health and wellness, career and benefits counseling, and connecting with other warriors and their communities. All veteran programs and services are offered to warriors free of charge thanks to generous donors.
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.