Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Wounded Warrior Project

The Wounded Warrior Project is coming to Cracker Barrel in Pearl/Jackson, Mississippi (410 Riverwind Drive, Pearl, MS (601) 936-9990) on July 20, 2008 at 1:00 P.M.

WWP's Year of Outreach: Building a New Front Porch

Katherine Phillips, an 85-year-old woman from Mobile, Alabama, tells the story of when she was a young married woman and her husband came home from World War II. They lived in a little neighborhood where all the homes were built for GIs. And every night after they put their children to bed, the Phillips and their neighbors would gather on the porch and the young men would exchange stories. The boy next door had ridden with Patton across Europe. The boy across the street went in just after D-Day. Another had been a medic and survived the battles of Europe. Katherine and the other young wives would sit and listen. She describes how by listening to them exchange stories, the wives learned more about their husbands than they had ever known. She also describes how as the years went by, she came to understand that the front porch was much more than evening entertainment. It was a place of healing.

That was a time when every young man was called to serve -- every husband, every father, every son, and every brother. In each community across the nation, ordinary Americans did what they could to support the war effort on the homefront. We were a nation at war, connected by our hopes, our fears, and our compassion for the brave young soldiers fighting abroad.

Today, young men and women are coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan. More than 30,000 of them are returning wounded in body - many more in mind and spirit. Unlike the men who gathered on Katherine Phillip's porch, they are often the only ones in their communities to have experienced battlefields, to have held dying comrades, or to have comforted traumatically injured friends. With whom are these soldiers sharing those life-changing experiences? More than ever, these men and women need a Front Porch - they need a place of healing. And that's what Wounded Warrior Project is all about.

Our mission is to build a new front porch. To raise public awareness about their needs, to help wounded warriors help each other, and to deliver unique programs to ensure that this is the most successful, well adjusted generation of wounded veterans in our history.

WWP's staff have committed to making 2008 a year that highlights outreach. These injured men and women have access to an excellent network of resources while recovering in military trauma centers and medical facilities. As rehabilitation progresses, these individuals return to their home communities, where they often face isolation and a disconnect from the support and encouragement needed to continue recovering. So many of these injuries include traumatic brain injuries, amputations, and blindness which will continue to present challenges for these warriors for the rest of their lives. Wounded warriors need to know that they will have the support of the American people as they transition into civilian life and beyond.

Through WWP's outreach program, our goal is to personally touch the lives of every individual who has been severely injured during the global war on terror. During the first year of the program, we will be hiring a mobile outreach team of approximately 25 wounded warriors as summer interns to visit communities across America and personally meet with injured service members in that region and build a metaphorical equivalent of a Front Porch. During the visits, the warriors will provide information about WWP'S programs and events, benefits, and education and employment programs available, as well as other information pertinent to injured service members. Most importantly, the visits will provide a place of healing, where veterans can receive the support and encouragement they need to move forward. Active outreach programs are critical to ensuring that this generation of veterans does not fall victim to the homelessness, unemployment, and substance abuse that Vietnam veterans faced during their transition back into civilian life.

Collaboration with Cracker Barrel and U-HAUL

WWP's Front Porch initiative is a natural fit with Cracker Barrel's community focus and famous front porches.

Cracker Barrel will serve as an instantly recognizable, centrally located meeting point for outreach endeavors in each community.

In recognition of Uhaul's on-going commitment to our nation's military men and women, U-Haul is helping market WWP's Front Porch initiative by providing logoed trucks to outreach to wounded warriors in their home communities.

At the beginning of the summer of outreach, WWP will train a team of wounded warriors interns, most of whom will be college students.

By serving as a warrior outreach team member, these interns will meet and inspire their peers while gaining work experience and earning a competitive salary.

An integral component of the program will be a massive co-branded public relations and awareness campaign conducted in each community.

Janis will also be on hand and will have some of her books for sale.

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