“I needed to get out and spend time with other veterans,” said Army veteran Ruben Rojo. “It was a tough hike, but very worth it.”
Isolation is one of the most significant struggles wounded warriors deal with after serving their country. It can be difficult knowing how to overcome that challenge and rekindle bonds similar to those formed in the military.
Afterward, hikers gathered to get to know others from their community better and learn how they could eat out and be healthy at the same time by selecting fresh ingredients that don’t add up to major calories.
“I met some Army and Navy veterans and their families,” Ruben said. “These events mean a lot to me because they get me out, I meet new people, and I live.”
WWP program events like this give wounded warriors an opportunity to experience veteran peer support firsthand. These social gatherings get them out of the house and connect them with fellow service members and their communities.
“I’m always interested in learning about a new hiking site,” said Angelica Canez, wife of National Guard veteran Daniel. “I thought the hiking experience was great, and I totally enjoyed our lunch as a group, as well as meeting new people and learning about their stories and hiking adventures.”
Activities like hiking and socializing with other veterans can help injured warriors cope with stress and emotional concerns. In a WWP survey (https://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/survey) of the injured warriors it serves, more than half of survey respondents (51.6 percent) expressed they talk with fellow veterans to address their mental health issues, and 30.3 percent indicated physical activity helps.
“Wounded Warrior Project, to me, means family and a community that helps me sustain not only myself, but my veteran as well,” Angelica said.