NEWPORT, R.I., Aug. 12, 2019 — Injured veterans were empowered to steer the boat, grind the winches, and trim the sails at a Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) sailing class in Newport.
“I wanted to be on the ocean without feeling uneasy,” said Army veteran Dawn Tomei. “I do have a slight fear of the water, and having the backing of other veterans gave me the courage to be on the sailboat. I had never been sailing and had no previous knowledge of how to sail.”
Connecting with fellow service members and people in the community gives warriors support they can count on. The opportunity to try something new and be surrounded by other veterans encouraged Dawn to sign up for this and several other WWP activities in the past year. She first heard about WWP from a female veteran with whom she served in Iraq.
“Everyone on my sailboat chatted before the sailing concluded and had a chance to get to know each other,” Dawn said.
Dawn’s husband serves in the Navy and is stationed in Virginia. She doesn’t have other family nearby and attended the WWP sailing event with a friend. Having a friend with her – and making new friends there – contributed to growing her network. “I was happy to share this great opportunity with a close friend,” Dawn said.
“We ended up sitting together for lunch,” she added. The combat medic and medical instructor shared lunch with other veterans at the picturesque summer house of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Socializing with other veterans helps warriors connect with the support network they need to overcome the challenges they face. In a WWP survey of the wounded warriors it serves, more than half of survey respondents (52.6%) expressed they talk with fellow veterans to address their mental health concerns.
Learn more about how WWP connects warriors to build strength through community.