The Wounded Warrior Project - Empowering Wounded Warriors
Published: 2009-12-10 - Updated: 2014-04-01
Author: Disabled World
Synopsis: The Wounded Warrior Project raises awareness and enlists the aid of the public while honoring and empowering wounded warriors.
The Wounded Warrior Project (WWP), a nonprofit organization, raises awareness and enlists the aid of the public at large while honoring and empowering wounded warriors.
They help severely injured service members to assist and aid one another, while providing direct programs and services to them in order to meet their needs. The organization values loyalty, fun, service, integrity, and innovation.
Several people started the Wounded Warrior project to help others in need. There came a night when a group of veterans and brothers were watching the evening news; they were moved by the stories of the first wounded service members who were returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan. An immediate understanding came to them that something simply had to be done for the brave people beyond the ticker-tape parades and brass bands.
The resulting objective this group of veterans and bothers had was to provide tangible support for returning warriors who were severely wounded, helping them on the road to healing - physically and mentally. Something that was once viewed as a minor contribution in comparison to what these warriors have sacrificed while serving America has turned into the Wounded Warrior Project's signature program; "WWP Backpacks delivered bedside to wounded warriors."
The WWP has a legislative program that works to support service members who have been injured through advocacy for positive changes in both veterans policy and benefits. Veterans who are in need of assistance with VA benefits can contact the Wounded Warrior Project for assistance. The WWP is an accredited organization - they have very experienced staff members who are able to help veterans with their Veterans Administration claims.
The WWP has benefits counselor who start working with severely wounded service members as soon as they return to America. The counselors give them guidance while helping them to navigate the government benefits that are available to both them and their family members. The counselors help service members to build connections with other wounded warriors and establish a network of peers, providing them with needed assistance, inspiration, and friendship.
The policy and legislative changes that the Wounded Warrior Project creates and pursues benefit severely wounded service members and disabled veterans of current military conflicts. The organization listens to input and advice from the wounded service members and families they are there to serve, developing legislative and policy proposals that cover the range of issues they face. The WWP's policy program works to:
Make sure that accessible, quality health care for the full-range of injuries is available throughout the transition from active duty service member to veteran status, as well as for the duration of the warrior's life.
- Ensure that wounded warrior's have complete access the to range of compensation and benefits they are eligible to receive.
- Ease both the emotional and financial stress experienced by families with loved ones who experience disabilities.
- Identify and create new programs in order to meet the needs of veterans.
Perhaps the greatest accomplishment the Wounded Warrior Project has made to date was the recent enactment of a law creating Traumatic Injury Protection for every active duty service member. The new law creates insurance which pays severely wounded service members up to $100,000 once they are admitted to a stateside military hospital. The WWP played an instrumental part in the creation and drafting of the proposed legislation, presenting successful lobbying efforts that resulted in the legislation being both introduced and passed by Congress. The legislation was signed into law by President George W. Bush in less than two months.
Wounded Warrior Retreats
The Wounded Warrior Project believes in the power of recreation and nature, knowing they can help warriors to deal with combat stress. Through the WWP's Project Odyssey, an outdoor rehabilitative retreat is available to warriors that combines adventure challenges and opportunities for peer support and group processing. The project was created in order to support warriors in their process of recovery from combat stress. The project involves recreational experiences that range from rock climbing in the Black Hills of South Dakota, to herding cattle on Wildcatter Ranch. The experiences gained encourage personal growth in participants, as well as team-building.
In cooperation with the National Park Service, WWP's Project Odyssey events take place in a variety of places over the course of five days. Prior event sites have included:
- Wildcatter Resort & Ranch in Graham, Texas
- Marriott Cocoa Beach in Miami, Florida
- National Ability Center, Park City, Utah
- Acadia National Park in Maine
Each of the locations chosen by Project Odyssey includes a unique experience, one that is different from the last, varying because of the geographical resources. Project Odyssey also partners with Vet Centers from across America, recruiting combat warriors who are enrolled in counseling services. The project allows participants to continue their therapeutic journey in unique and dynamic settings with peers and support from both the WWP and Vet Center professionals.
Each location offers a unique experience that is different from the last and varies based on geographical resources. The requirements for participation include:
- Never been on Project Odyssey
- Complete screening with licensed clinician
- Currently seeking treatment for combat stress
- Ability to travel independently to the Project Odyssey location
Wounded Warrior Project's Caregiver Retreats
The WWP is also committed to supporting people who sustain wounded warriors on their path to recovery. The Spring of 2008 found the organization launching Caregiver Retreats to support the devoted wives, mothers, sisters, fathers, brothers, and other family members who are helping their wounded loved ones face a wide-range of mental and physical challenges. The caregiver retreats include weekend-long, all-expense paid retreats which are commonly hosted in the state of Florida.
The retreats for caregivers give family members the opportunity to get some mental and physical rest and rejuvenation, as well as to connect with others who are on the same journey. The WWP administers a comprehensive survey prior to these retreats to make sure that the participants are placed into an appropriate group. The size of the retreats is intimate, commonly between fifteen and twenty-five people, giving caregivers the opportunity to connect with others who are experiencing a similar range of emotions in an environment that is warm, safe, and comfortable.
Caregiver retreats start with a reception and dinner where participants hear from speakers such as program staff members like Tiffany Calhoun and Julie Melia - both of whom are married to wounded warriors. Tiffany and Julie have first-hand experience at being caregivers of warriors and empathize with the caregiver journey. The weekend retreat has features such as a choice of a spa treatment where the participants may have a manicure, pedicure, massage or facial, as well as excellent food. Participants take part in group counseling sessions with staff members from St. Vincent's Hospital in New York, WWP's partner. Caregivers, depending on the location of the retreat and the season, may spend their free time shopping, relaxing by the pool, enjoying spa services, or horseback riding.
The weekend retreat is one that is filled with fun, including a casual dinner where new friends can enjoy each other's company and exchange contact information, and a night of games. Staff members at the Wounded Warrior Project follow-up with retreat participants, assembling a comprehensive contact database. All of the travel expenses are paid by the WWP - Wounded Warrior Project
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Cite This Page (APA): Disabled World. (2009, December 10). The Wounded Warrior Project - Empowering Wounded Warriors. Disabled World. Retrieved September 22, 2021 from www.disabled-world.com/news/veterans/wwp.php