Now that Veterans Day has passed as it does each fall, I wonder how many people actually stopped to ask themselves the same question I asked myself in September last year: what can I do to honor those who were wounded while fighting for my freedom and the freedom of all Americans?
I did some research online and found the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP). WWP is a charitable foundation that operates as a non-profit. Their mission is to create programs, services, and sponsor fundraising events to benefit members of the US military who were wounded while defending our country. These events range from 5K runs and walks to annual Soldier Ride Cycling events that aim to heal the minds and bodies of wounded service members through a therapeutic cycling ride.
After researching WWP, I decided this would be a perfect way for me to honor and give back to those who gave their all for me. I contacted WWP and found out about a program that is geared towards getting college students involved with the organization. As a student athlete at McDaniel, I felt that I could benefit WWP by becoming one of their Student Ambassadors here at McDaniel. In September of 2015, I applied and was accepted to the Wounded Warrior Student Ambassador Program.
As Ambassador, I partnered with the McDaniel College baseball team and set a goal to raise $1,000 for the foundation during the month of November. The baseball team members handed out WWP stickers and wristbands around campus in return for small donations. I also designed an American flag themed McDaniel Baseball t-shirt, which team members sold to other students and families. A percentage of sales of these shirts went to the WWP.
Throughout the entire month, the baseball team honored our veterans on campus and raised $1,330 for the foundation in just one week. I was blown away by how much money was raised in such a short time. Learning the importance of helping military veterans with physical wounds, and mental wounds such as PTSD, as well as spreading awareness about how to donate and volunteer to others in the community, could not have been more beneficial to the cause.
As of August 1, 2016, the Wounded Warrior Project has helped over 92,000 veterans adjust to their new “normal” lives post service. By spreading awareness about the WWP and Student Ambassador Program, more non-military individuals and college students have learned how to help give back to those injured while serving our country.
Along with my teammates on the McDaniel Baseball Team, I and other students and faculty learned more than we ever thought we’d know about the wonderful job the Wounded Warrior Project Organization does. The organization strives to stand by and provide support not only the veterans, but their families as well. Their unique programs are helpful stepping stones that make the transition and rehabilitation process as easy as possible. The Wounded Warrior Project offers interactive programs such as outdoor rehabilitative retreats to help with mental injuries as well as proper physical rehabilitation services to ensure a healthy quality of life.
The limits are endless for those looking to do their part in giving back to those who served. All it takes is a few minutes out of your day to log on to the Wounded Warrior Project’s website and create your own event, start your own fundraiser, or become an ambassador. You can visit WWP’s website today and join the family. Becoming involved is the perfect way to show your appreciation on Veterans Day and another way to thank our soldiers for their service.