In anticipation of delicious – and filling – holiday meals, many families are looking for ways to get out and stay physically active, and that is just what a group of veterans did with Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) during a recent Turkey Trot 5K at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Running and walking with family and friends, warriors experienced firsthand what is possible when exposed to physical health and wellness gatherings that get them out of the house and engaged with fellow veterans.
The 5K was part of a monthly workout for wounded warriors involved in WWP’s Physical Health and Wellness program, which is designed to reduce stress and combat depression while promoting healthy and active lifestyles. The program includes physical training opportunities, outdoor events, and nutrition classes.
“I try to participate in Wounded Warrior Project events as often as I can, and I really enjoy the connection with my fellow veterans,” said Army veteran Sarai Florence. “It makes me work on being comfortable out in public. There hasn’t been anything Wounded Warrior Project hasn’t helped me with. It’s great to know there are people out there who have my back.”
In a WWP survey of the injured warriors it serves, more than half of survey respondents (51.7 percent) talked with fellow Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, or Operation New Dawn veterans to address their mental health issues, and 29.6 percent expressed physical activity helps.
The combination of physical fitness and warrior camaraderie made the Turkey Trot gathering a perfect opportunity for Marine veteran Brandon Hasson and his family.
“My wife is a marathon runner, so events like these are ones we like to participate in as a family,” he said. “We don’t go out to break records; we just go to enjoy the run and be together.”
These outreach activities support the long-term recovery needs of warriors by reintroducing them and their families to the unique bonds experienced during military service.
“It’s important for us veterans to take part in events like this; we need to come together and be there for each other,” Brandon said. “I’ve run into people who fought the same battles in Iraq. The world is a small place, and the warrior family is a major motivator to meeting up with other veterans.”
WWP staff interacted with attendees through the course of the afternoon, advising them of additional services to assist in their recovery processes and providing warriors with more personalized therapeutic outlets. Through the generosity of donors, these programs and resources are available to wounded warriors and their families at no cost to them.
To learn more about how WWP’s programs and services are making an impact on the lives of wounded warriors, visit woundedwarriorproject.org/.
About Wounded Warrior Project
We Connect, Serve, and Empower
The mission of Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) is to honor and empower Wounded Warriors. WWP connects wounded warriors and their families to valuable resources and one another, serves them through a variety of free programs and services, and empowers them to live life on their own terms. WWP is a national, nonpartisan organization headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida.
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