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SUPPORTING EACH OTHER THROUGH SHARED EXPERIENCES

Wounded Warrior Project Alumni Participate in Pheasant Hunt By Vesta Anderson

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eer support plays an important role in the healing process as it allows individuals to build relationships based off of shared experiences. The experiences themselves, past and present, play just as critical a role in bringing forth the change in mindset injured veterans must adopt to better transition to civilian life. At a recent Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) Alumni program event in Ellensburg, Wash., everyone experienced first-hand what is possible when injured veterans are exposed to programs and services that both honor and empower. Injured servicemen and women enrolled with WWP are referred to as “alumni” – a special word that indicates a mutually shared experience and denotes that the wounded veteran’s place in WWP was earned – not purchased. Through

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its 20 programs and services, WWP honors and empowers its alumni with a goal to foster the most successful, well-adjusted generation of injured veterans in the nation’s history. Alice and Doug Brunett, co-founders of Cooke Canyon Hunt Club, a non-profit membership club that focuses on hunting and dog training, have been hosting WWP alumni at special hunting experiences for four years. The two-day experience, which involves both skeet shooting lessons and a pheasant hunt, is an example of the variety of WWP events offered across the nation and abroad. These events help to build a peer-support structure that is instrumental in an injured veteran’s recovery process. “Alumni events are important because they give wounded veterans a chance to network with each other,” said Ross Magill, WWP outreach specialist

at Seattle, Wash., and wounded service member. “It helps warriors realize they are not alone.” Injured veterans, in fact, are not alone. As of April 2015, WWP serves more than 65,000 warriors and more than 10,000 caregivers and family members. The growing need for programs and services is evident. In order to meet the increasing need over the last five years, WWP has grown its programs and services at an annual rate of 50 percent, providing an additional $400 million in support to warriors, their caregivers, and families. During this year’s pheasant hunt, the Brunetts experienced an increase in alumni participation by more than 41 percent from the same event last year. For more one-on-one time, the 17 attendees were divided into five groups. Each group included one WWP Peer Mentor. www.homelandmagazine.com

Homeland April 2015  
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