Retreat hopes to heal hidden struggles of wounded, ill and injured veterans | ParkRecord.com

Back to: Entertainment

Retreat hopes to heal hidden struggles of wounded, ill and injured veterans

A group of 25 wounded, ill and injured veterans plan to exchange stories and share personal coping mechanisms while experiencing the great outdoors in Park City.

The group, who will be in town from May 21 to May 26, were formerly assigned to the Wounded Warrior Battalion West's unit at Marine Corps Base Hawaii and now are living across the United States.

The outdoor therapy program is the latest retreat sponsored by the Friends of Windward Wounded Warriors, which brings wounded, ill and injured veterans together to build camaraderie and renew bonds through events and programs.

High Country Fly Fishers, the Park City branch of the Trout Unlimited nonprofit, is the local coordinating organization, and will host the group for two days of fly fishing.

The National Ability Center will assist with activities, and a host of local organizations and groups have come forward to provide meals and events.

The Park City visit serves two purposes:

  • To place wounded warriors in a relaxing environment that is close to nature and removed from outside influences.
  • To identify and share how the warriors could benefit from each other.

Some suffering from post traumatic stress disorders are still reluctant to get out in public and engage with strangers. A retreat like the one in Park City encourages them to join fellow Marine veterans, where a significant trust level already exists, to expand their comfort zone and try new and challenging activities.

At one such past retreat, members of the same squad who were injured by improvised explosive devices were able for the first time to tell each other details of their emergency evacuation under fire.

Others in attendance heard of the squad members' challenges in getting proper benefits or treatment. They also provided contacts and suggestions.

The veterans are looking forward to such important conversations and to enhance long-term relationships as a result of Park City's hospitality.

A program of the Honolulu Council of the Navy League, Windward Wounded Warriors is dedicated to improving the quality of life for recovering service members and their families stationed at the Marine Base on the Windward side of Oahu and to providing assistance and local resources to ease the transitions they face physically, mentally, spiritually and professionally.

For information, contact program manager Chaplain Steve Jense, at kaneohesj@aol.com.