Wounded Warrior Project

Wounded Warrior Project

Wounded Warrior Project: Helping Veterans Realize What’s Possible
Photo Caption
Yomari Cruz, Wounded Warrior, realizes what's possible

Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) began in twenty years ago 2003 as a small, grassroots effort providing simple care and comfort items to the hospital bedsides of the first wounded service members returning home from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. As their post-service needs evolved, so have WWP’s programs and services.

After two decades, through direct programs in mental health, career counseling, and long-term rehabilitative care, along with advocacy efforts, WWP improves the lives of millions of warriors, like Yomari Cruz, as well those of their families.

In September of 2010, Yomari Cruz deployed to Afghanistan, proud of herself and her decision to join the Army. “It’s such a good feeling to know that you’re protecting the freedom of the loved ones you’re leaving back home,” says Yomari. “It gives you a sense of pride and purpose.”
But not ten minutes after getting off the aircraft in Jalalabad, the base was attacked, and those good feelings were replaced with intense fear. “Sirens were going off and I was trying to find cover. It was insane. I was terrified,” says Yomari.

While Yomari loved her job, the constant attacks, the loss of her military brothers, and other traumatic experiences took her to a dark place. Always on edge, she couldn’t sleep more than an hour a night. When Yomari medically retired in 2012, post-traumatic stress made her transition to civilian life very difficult. She had serious anger issues, feared public areas, and couldn’t handle conversations with people. She wouldn’t leave her house. Most of her relationships with friends and family disintegrated.

“You just lose everyone. No one wants to be around you,” says Yomari. “They don’t understand why you’re different, why you’re so defensive and angry.”
It was a neighbor — a fellow veteran — who took her to the Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) event that changed everything. For the first time in more than three years, she felt comfortable. She saw other warriors behave like she did when they walked into a new place or were in a crowd. When she finally let her guard down, she realized there were people who understood what she had gone through — and cared. Since then, she has participated in many WWP events, including Soldier Ride® and Project Odyssey®, which Yomari credits as one of the best experiences she has ever had.

“You feel like you have a support system and you become like a close family,” says Yomari. “There are people hugging and patting you on the back. And all of the walls go down. Then, all of a sudden, it became more about how I could make others feel comfortable and support them.”
That revelation has helped Yomari find a new purpose — helping other warriors. She volunteers with WWP as a warrior leader, organizing local events and helping her fellow veterans connect with one another.

“Seeing the veterans’ faces at the events and knowing how grateful they are is something that is definitely rewarding,” says Yomari.
Because WWP does not accept government funding, it is only through the generosity of friends, supporters, and like-minded organizations that it is able to offer these life-changing programs and services to so many deserving warriors and their families — all at no cost.

Your donation can help make a life-changing difference for warriors like Yomari and their families and help WWP with its life-long commitment to these heroes.
Visit woundedwarriorproject.org/CFC today to learn more about its services and programs and how your CFC donation can make a difference.

20 Years of Possible

Wounded Warrior Project – WWP23CFC Campaign 20A 60 PSA
Wounded Warrior Project has been with me every step of my journey with experiences that help me realize that I’m not alone in specialized programs that give me the tools to train my body and mind.
Now, it’s possible for me to get back out there, to get out of my comfort zone and try new things, to build and be part of a community that supports other warriors.
It’s possible to get the help I need for me and my family.
I got my confidence back. I’m setting goals and I’m achieving them.
It’s possible to feel understood whether it’s day one or 20 years down the road. They’ve got your back.
And as each warrior’s needs evolve, Wounded Warrior Project is adapting to meet them.
Because when we pull together, it’s possible to go further than you ever imagined.

Wounded Warrior Project
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