I spent 10 years in the Marine Corps and left as a SSgt in late 2012. I received my PH from a mortar blast in Iraq in 2006. Back in 2010 I came across www.wwiaf.org and it literally changed my life. I grew up hunting and fishing but hadn't done much of either for close to a decade while I served. The founder of WWIA himself (Mr. John McDaniel) called invited me on a musky fly fishing trip in the northwoods of Wisconsin in 2010. To be honest at first I thought it was a scam but I gave it a shot and had the trip of a lifetime! Fast forward a few years and now I'm blessed to be able to help share more of these events with my brothers. True healing occurs on these trips and finding an awesome organization like Wounded Warrior's in Action has been one of the biggest blessings in my life. I'd be willing to bet money that hundreds of PH veterans would agree with me 110%. I'm a better man today because of John McDaniel and the many WWIA Associates I've been able to sit around a camp fire in the woods with.
To Honor. To Connect. To Heal.
Succinct, yet three sentences thoroughly explain the power of the Wounded Warriors in Action Foundation (WWIA). My involvement with WWIA began over 3 years ago, when I was invited to attend a top-tier fishing trip with a wonderful group of my peers (Purple Heart recipients). The level of camaraderie experienced during that trip was unmatched. For the first time, I was able to bond with a group of peers who "got it" - who truly understood all of the dynamics. The event was so powerful for me, I wanted...needed...to get involved; and I was able to.
Now, as an Associate Guide, I have the humbling honor of meeting 3-5 new groups of our nation's combat wounded heroes. From the initial phone call, through a powerful event, and for an infinite time thereafter; I get the honor of making new friends, connecting at a personal level, and partake in a level of healing that cannot be found in a physicians office. Each experience is incredible in it's own way!
WWIA has help me connect with fellow combat injured Veteran's and provided me with an environment to heal and connect but more importantly help others.
This is by far one of the most incredible and spot-on organizations that exists for combat wounded.
My name is SSG Jonathan French, a Combat Engineer (12B)/SAPPER in the US ARMY MIANG. I was deployed to the mountains of eastern Afghanistan in 2008-2009. Prior to deployment, I thought the worst outcome was the possibility being killed. I was unaware there could be something far worse. During an intense firefight with insurgents in July of 2009, I was struck directly in the chest by a Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG). I was medevac'd out and sent to Walter Reed Army Medical Center for medical and physical rehabilitation. It was here I learned what was worse than dying. I found myself emotionally and mentally numb; wondering what my purpose or mission was. I felt lost with no real direction on where to go, what to do next or even if I felt like doing anything. I was later introduced to the Wounded Warriors In Action Foundation (WWIAF) and reintegrated back into the hunting and fishing sports (something I grew up with and was passionate about prior to deployment). Through the time provided in the outdoors, the pursuit of animals/game fish and providing sustenance for my family -I found my internal grounding, my purpose, a replacement for the surge of combat adrenaline and especially the ability to relax and breathe. Through WWIAF, I was able to gain direction in my life and a sense of purpose. In a battlefield environment a soldier is an expert at his job and duties. Now that I was back in the civilian world, this void was filled by my time as a sportsman in the outdoors. The WWIAF events provide the perfect environment for wounded Warriors' mental and emotional rehabilitation. A Warrior is given the camaraderie with fellow wounded Warriors and the environment to learn and grow from their experiences. New friendships and bonds are created between other Warriors, the extraordinary hosts as well as the donors with whose generosity helped us out on a deep, personal level; complete strangers who cared for us when we needed help. It confirms the idea of who we are fighting for, the greatness of this Country. This foundation introduces us with phenomenal people who share the same patriotism and values as us.
I'm not sure where I would be without this Foundation or the support of my family, firends and community. To the Wounded Warriors in Action Foundation, my greatest and sincerest appreciation for giving me a sense of purpose, direction and meaning back to my life.
I have been involved with the Foundation for 6 years as a Host, Volunteer and Employee. I am constantly amazed by the healing that I see taking place on a daily basis. It is wonderful to see the connections being made by these warriors that would not be possible if not for the communities and sportsman that help us achieve our mission. Each day I wake up excited, humbled and appreciative to be a part of an organization that is making a difference in these heroes lives.
When I First got the call I was in shock. The lady on the other end of the line asked me if I would Like to go on an all expenses paid turkey hunt in Virginia. I asked her how she knew I had a Purple Heart and she said someone must have signed me up. My wife. This trip really helped me. Sometimes I get lost in being a family man and working all the time and still struggle day to day with my memories and scars from the war. This trip helped me, It assured me that there are still people who care about an old war torn veteran like me and that means more than any words I could write on this here review. I made lifetime friends in only three days and memories that I will share with my children. This was one of the greatest opportunities I've ever had a chance of being apart of. It was so great that if I never get to do it again I am just thankful that I got to go the time that I did and that If I am not there then someone else deserving is there in my place they will fall in love with the comradery and hospitality that they will find from the best Non-profit in the world.
My family continues to grow with each new event I volunteer on. It's truly remarkable that the foundation provides me with so many new relationships with patriotic people!
My name is Nathan Allen, I have been with this organization since 2011. I went on my first hunt a few months after being shot in Afghanistan and all i could think to myself was "What a life changing program." To top it all off the founder John McDaniels was on the event to personally tell the heroes what the foundation was about and how he envisioned to build the foundation up. I knew instantly i wanted to be on board and serve along side fellow purple heart recipients to help heal and serve Purple heart recipients. WWIA helps heal and transform heroes that are looking to fill a possible void in their lives by turning them into outdoors men or by helping them hone in their hunting/fishing skills. I have personally seen guys make great transformations in a 4 day event by talking to them around the campfire and they realize they aren't alone, and others in the group are going through the exact same struggles we all experience. I can't preach about this organization enough, It's results speak for itself and how we serve the Purple Heart Community.
Wounded warrior in action... they are great. They sent me on a turkey hunt / walleye fishing close to home. Their communication is amazing. They had someone their to make sure everything went smooth, and really took care of me. It was great to get out in nature, and be around other wounded warriors like myself. Other non profits let anyone in. This is just for us. We have lots of wounds from war, and it is like therapy. I am blessed to be apart of this organization, and I am excited for my next adventure.
I went on a duck hunt with WWIA in 2015. I am so grateful that I was afforded the opportunity, and Im very happy I took advantage of the opportunity. The event was top notch and the mentor who attended was great at what he does.
For veterans, you will have the opportunity to join you brothers and sisters for quality time with laughing, hunting/fishing and sharing memories, mostly positive. As for donors, you can feel comfortable that your money is having a significant positive impact in the lives of veterans.
I've been a part of WWIA since 2008. A great organization and teammates who provide world class sportsmen opportunities to our nation's Purple Heart Medal Heroes in the USA and Canada. I've been a part of many hunts with WWIA in California, Florida and Alabama. I'm also a lead associate with WWIA and have been selected to lead future hunts nationally/internationally. I was also selected to attend the inaugural Guide School in Maine this May 2016. WWIA has afforded me the opportunities to grow as a true professional sportsmen and leader within the organization. They continue to empower me to be the best that I can be, in and out of the field. I owe them a tremendous Thank You and debt of gratitude! Thank you for such awesome opportunities!! Thanks John, WWIA teammates and fellow warriors/Heroes!