Injured veterans and family members dined on traditional Old San Juan cuisine and created their own art at a recent Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) connection event in the island’s historic district, considered the artistic capital of Puerto Rico.
Warriors and their guests picked up painting techniques from an experienced artist who walked them through the process of creating something beautiful to display in their homes.
“The arts, and all its variations, are a great way to express myself and help me focus,” said National Guard veteran German Rivera. “Plus, it’s that much better when it comes with a good dinner, inspirational guitar music, and excellent veteran companions. I always love to be around and talk with my fellow Wounded Warrior Project peers.”
The 2017 WWP Annual Warrior Survey highlights the importance of opportunities for connection at WWP outreach events, which support the long-term recovery of warriors in environments that accommodate physical injuries and social anxieties.
“Being able to develop an idea and focus that idea on a painting or drawing made it an experience to remember,” German said. “At the meet-and-greet, we shared experiences about other Wounded Warrior Project events, while we attempted the instructor’s dynamic art techniques to create our own art.”
WWP program events like this give wounded warriors and family members an opportunity to experience firsthand what is possible at social gatherings that get them out of the house and connect them with fellow service members and their communities.
“Wounded Warrior Project gives me perspective in life and empowers me to be productive and overcome my problems and fears by helping others,” German said. “I’ve participated in their dinners and many of their other mental and physical recovery programs, including mental health workshops and Soldier Ride. I also lead a group where warriors on the island can support one another.”
WWP has been connecting, serving, and empowering wounded warriors for 15 years. To learn more, visit: woundedwarriorproject.org.