|All images from the Wounded Warrior Project press kit|
A man came on the screen, a man younger than me. He had on a white tank top and had short blond hair. He started giving his opinion, and I didn't pay much attention to it, until the caption came on the screen underneath his unassuming, everyday visage: "Iraq veteran."
I was dumbfounded. Just like that, it hit me - something so obvious, and yet it took me totally by surprise. There are veterans out there - hundreds of them, thousands of them - who are younger than me. Until that moment, and periodically still, when I pictured a veteran, I thought of a weathered, wrinkly old man, maybe in a wheelchair, or donning an old-fashioned green Army cap or an oversized baseball cap with VFW pins stuck on it. But someone younger than me? Healthier? Fitter? It just blew my mind - and it still does.
There are veterans all around us - helping us at the grocery store, sitting next to us at church, passing us on the stairway at work - and to look at most of them, you wouldn't even know it. Yes, many veterans have unfortunately lost limbs or suffered burns which have left them physically more identifiable, but there are countless others who show no outward signs of trauma. Men and women who returned from war with a completely different view of the world; a view that leaves them scared, scarred, and needing help but not knowing where to find it.
Wounded Warrior Project comes in. This organization provides exactly this kind of help to veterans and their families. Any military service member who has been injured - physically or psychologically - during service-connected events since September 11, 2001 can receive services from Wounded Warriors, and their families can get help as well.
Not only does Wounded Warriors provide emotional support to help warriors transition back in to everyday life, they also provide job training and employment search services. Warriors can participate in specialized physical health and wellness programs. Perhaps most importantly, Wounded Warriors connects warriors with people who truly understand what they've been through - other veterans. The organization provides a safe haven for the warriors to work through their trauma and move on with their lives.
An Evening of Elegance ~ Mission: Possible is taking place on Saturday, November 3rd, at the Historic Savage Mill. The event includes cuisine from local restaurants, complimentary wine and beer, a live DJ, specialty luxury vendors, and even a celebrity guest. The evening's proceeds benefit the Wounded Warrior Project.
Tickets are $40 in advance or $50 at the door. Go to the Eventbrite website to purchase tickets and learn more about this special evening.
The Sous Chef and I hope to see you there!