The Wounded Warrior Project

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Today, Chris talks with Sargent Shane Parsons and Cindy Parsons about the Wounded Warrior Project.

On today’s show discover:

  • wounded Warrior… how the Wounded Warrior Project has helped tens of thousands of service men and women
  • … how the organization helps provide hope and restores independence
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Read the Full Transcript from the Interview

The Wounded Warrior Project

1:06 ] Can you talk about what the Wounded Warrior Project is all about? 
The project has really been a blessing to Shane and I. The Wounded Warrior Project helps wounded warriors who have service connected injuries and they concentrate on the mind, the body, economic empowerment and engagement.
1:49 ] How did the Wounded Warrior Project get started? 
It started in 2003 when several veterans and friends were moved by some of the stories from our wounded veterans coming back from Afghanistan and Iraq.
2:08 ] How did you feel about Shane joining the army? 
Of course I am very proud of him. As i mother i was always very worried. When he joined the army I was very proud but also apprehensive and worried.

Cindy’s Story

2:45 ] Could you share your story and Shane’s story and what happened? 
It all started when I received a phone call on a Saturday morning. When i picked up the phone it wasn’t my son, it was a stranger telling me that my son was critically wounded. I was devastated and I dropped to my knees.
Next thing you know I’m on my way to Germany to be at my son’s side. When I walked into the room I was devastated because lying there was my son swollen beyond recognition and hooked up to every type of equipment to maintain life.
Most devastating to me was to see the tube coming out of his brain. He had volunteered that morning to p[prevent anti-coalitions from attacking our troops. As he was driving in the lead Humvee an improvised explosive device was detonated and my son and his gunner were critically wounded.
It immediately severed his left leg and his right leg was also compromised but they saved his life.
4:25 ] We are happy to say that Shane is doing well today and we’ll talk to him in a bit. You are not only an advocate for the Wounded Warrior Project but you were also first helped by the Wounded Warrior Project. Can you talk about that a little bit? 
The first exposure we had to the Wounded Warrior Project was when Shane was at Walter Reed. We were visited by two staff members with a backpack. In the backpack there were some comfort items but most importantly they told my son and I we were not alone and if there was anything we needed they were there for us.
We had no idea at the time the impact of that first visit. As days turned int years it was a great comfort to know that they were always there, just a phone call away if we needed them.
5:35 ] What would a donation mean to the Wounded Warrior Project? 
Donations mean that it’s a continual life long rehabilitation program for every wounded warrior and family support. It means that wounded warriors can go on and integrate back into their community.

Shane’s Story

6:32 ] Shane can you share what happened in Iraq that day? 
I just got off of a two day mission. While I was resting I heard an argument and one of my buddies was very distressed and didn’t want to go out on the mission that day so I decided to grab my gunner and my good friend spot so we decided to go out on that mission.
While we were outside and gearing up for our next mission we were critically hit. It was a multi-EFP what I was hit with was supposed to take out a Bradley tank. I felt some burning sensation, I looked around to see what was going on and the smoke cleared and I felt a sharp pain.
I tried to stay aware of myself. We caught some fire and were ambushed at that point. I leaned forward to put suppressive fire and I could hear the tanks rolling by us.  So I knew we were going to be ok.
My legs looked like they were in a meat grinder. I knew it was pretty bad. From then on I don’t remember that much I just remember waking up in Walter Reed in DC. From then on it was just a struggle.
8:23 ] What are some of the things you’ve seen the Wounded Warrior Project do for your mom? 
The Wounded Warrior Project has done so much for me and my mother. My mother was an ER nurse and she put her life on hold to take care of me. After my injury it upset me that everything my mother had worked so hard for to become a nurse and me a soldier was taken from us.
It was really hard and after I got better they asked my mom to help out because she knows what it’s like. The Wounded Warrior Project opened up a window for me and my mother to show that not only do you have to support the war but you also have to support the troops.

Wounded Warrior Programs

10:11 ] Cindy can you talk about some of the programs that are helping wounded warriors just like Shane? 
We have over 18 programs structured to nurture the body, the mind, economic empowerment and engagement. We have “Warriors to Work” to get soldiers back out in the working field.
The independence program helps get warriors back out into the community. It empowers them and the community. It helped Shane regain his self-esteem.
11:46 ] The Wounded Warrior Project relies on donations to keep it going. What would a donation mean to the Wounded Warrior Project? 
Your donation means that programs and services can continue to help and aid people like myself and my son. It would be life changing.

The Injuries You Can’t See

12:43 ] You mentioned that Shane suffers from Post Traumatic Stress (PST) disorder and I think it’s important for everyone to realize that sometimes it’s the wounds that you can’t see that are the most difficult to deal with. 
The estimate that over 400,000 soldiers returning are diagnosed with  PST along with oer 320,000 with traumatic brain injuries. just because you see a solider and he has no physicl wounds it doesn’t mean he isn’t injured.
13:22 ] That’s where the Wounded Warrior Project can step in and help not only the solider but the family member understand what that means. 
Exactly, we have an on-line self-help tool called restorewarriors.org. With this site there are self-help strategy tools that help them understand what they are going through.
At a certain point the VA informed us that Shane’s speech therapy was coming to an end. Shane was very upset. The Wounded Warrior Project stepped in and said we’re going to provide Shane with an adult literacy tutor. He is still making great progress today.
Wounded Warrior Project provided Shane with that ability. Where would he be? We would be lost if it wasn’t for Wounded Warrior Project.
15:47 ] What’s the best thing that someone can do to support the wounded warrior project? 
The war is not over and these injuries are life long. These programs and services will keep him going. Your donation is crucial, we save lives.
16:46 ] You took a fishing trip to Alaska I see, what was that all about? 
They took me and one of my good friends to go fishing in Alaska. This is something you did through the Wounded Warrior Project.
17:18 ] Some may call it a vacation but it’s more than that. It’s about bonding and understanding there are others going through the same struggles. At the same time realizing you can do things that you thought you couldn’t do before. 
If you are listening today I ask you for your support because your donation can save a life. I have a saying and Elmer Davis puts it perfectly “This land shall remain the home of the free so long as it is the home of the brave.”

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