Wounded Warrior Project
Before starting this blog, my interaction with the Wounded Warrior Project had been minimal. I did not know much about the project and contributed to the cause by buying the Wounded Warrior gear University of Maryland sells at the bookstore because of its partnership with Under Armour.
Every time I wear my Wounded Warrior apparel out, someone asks me about my involvement with it. Before this project, my responses were pretty bad; I would tell the person that I simply just thought the jacket was cool. Now I can honestly say I support and understand the cause.
The Wounded Warrior Project serves to:
- To raise awareness and enlist the public’s aid for the needs of injured service members.
- To help injured service members aid and assist each other.
- To provide unique, direct programs and services to meet the needs of injured service members.
As of January 1, 2013 following September 11, 2001 there have been 6,653 deaths, 50,405 wounded, 320,000 estimated TBIs and 400,000 estimated with PTSD. The Wounded Warriors Project serves as a catalyst for change by honoring and empowering wounded warriors. The Wounded Warrior Project helps warriors with every type of injury including the physical and the invisible wounds of war.
Through my research of Wounded Warriors, one story particularly stuck with me; this is the story of Joe Washam. On April 26, 2004 Joe’s team was removing containers from a suspected chemical weapons site in Baghdad. During the mission, an explosion occurred in the building that Joe was only 15 feet away from. He describes his hands as being bloody and burnt crisp and the sleeves of his uniform were burnt off. His burns were so bad, that he was sent to a burns intensive care unity in Texas.
Joe had to learn to walk again and had third degree burns covering 40 percent of his body. He was also suffering mentally because two of his friends were killed in the explosion. It was extremely difficult for him to be so dependent on those around him because he considered himself to be an independent man, joining the army at age 18.
The Wounded Warrior Project helped Joe get through the traumatic events he had experiences. In 2007, he used his experience to help pass the HERO Act, the 21st Century GI Bill of Rights Act, and the Wounded Heroes Bill of Rights Act. More recently, Joe has become the co-owner and project manager of a business that provides home oxygen and durable medical equipment to the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The Wounded Warriors Project was able to empower Joe through its mind, body, economic empowerment and engagement programs. I am really excited to be able to tell someone what I have learned about the Wounded Warrior Project the next time someone asks me about my shirt.