Wounded Warriors

With aprons donned, the creativity flowed when a group of Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) family support members gathered to decorate cookies like professionals and share time with other family members of wounded veterans.

The activity is part of the WWP Alumni program, one of 20 life-saving programs and services offered free of charge to wounded service members, their caregivers, and families. The WWP Alumni program creates support through shared experiences.

"I've been very active with the Alumni program especially as a peer mentor," said Gina Hill, wife of a WWP Alumnus. "My husband and I have been fortunate to participate in many events. WWP has helped us reintegrate into our community, where at one time we rarely left our house." 

Artistic classes like this, and other creative exercises, are excellent coping mechanisms and stress relievers. As the group shared morning coffee and snacks, they learned more about the WWP Combat Stress Recovery Program, and other free WWP programs and services for caregivers and family support members of wounded veterans.  

Designing took place at three creative stations, and a decorating extraordinaire was on hand to teach a few tricks of the trade, but each person had the maximum creative freedom to perfect their confectionery designs.

Gina said, "I liked the wet on wet station best as it allowed the most creativity." This technique is where a design is piped onto the base layer of icing while it is still wet and the design dries flat and smooth.

Charity Vazquez said, "I met new family support members, and it is always nice to see both new and familiar faces at WWP events." It was a special afternoon, as each attendee departed with a dozen professionally decorated cookies.

Charity has enjoyed her involvement with other WWP programs also. "I went on a Couples Project Odyssey® with WWP's Combat Stress Recovery team and have been doing yoga regularly with the organization's Physical Health and Wellness team. Everything we have done with WWP has been a great experience," she said.

Currently, more than 100,000 wounded service members, their family members, and caregivers receive support each year through free WWP programs and services. The Combat Stress Recovery Program (CSRP) addresses the mental health and cognitive needs of warriors returning from war. CSRP provides military rehabilitation services at key stages during a warrior's readjustment process.