EVANSTON, Ill., March 28, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Whether it's your first game or you're on a first name basis with each concession vendor there is no escaping the energy and excitement during a college basketball game. Fans had more than basketball to cheer for when Northwestern University stopped the clock to honor wounded veterans.
As part of the Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) Alumni program, Northwestern University welcomed two injured veterans from the Chicago area to be recognized for their military service during a Wildcat basketball game.
Army veteran and WWP Alumnus Joseph Daniels is a big fan of Chicagoland sports. At the game, he felt honored when he received a personalized Northwestern jersey and on-court recognition for his service. "The staff at Northwestern is fantastic," he said. "They made me feel like a king for the night, which took my mind away from the everyday troubles a wounded veteran faces. I felt like a normal person, which is pretty rare. It was an overwhelming, exciting, and tearful moment that I'll never forget. My mother and father were at the game with me, and to see them standing and clapping for me was amazing."
Through the WWP Alumni program, wounded service members are encouraged to engage and interact in social environments. Many injured veterans face challenges adjusting to their injuries and civilian life. By bonding at events and programs, wounded service men and women learn they are not alone. The Alumni program is one of 20 direct programs and services offered free of charge to wounded service members, their caregivers, and families.
Army veteran and WWP Alumna, Veronica Almanza, experienced her first collegiate basketball game with her family. "My 8-year-old nephew is a basketball fan and loves watching games on TV. When WWP invited me and my loved ones to the game, I thought what a great opportunity for us all to go to our first college basketball game together."
With her family and friends beside her, Veronica was honored during the game and received a personalized jersey. "It was a wonderful experience, and I'm so grateful to the WWP staff, director of athletics, and everyone who made this possible for my family and me."
More than 100,000 wounded veterans, caregivers, and family members receive access to WWP programs and services, all of which are free of charge. During February 2016, Wounded Warrior Project served 25,853 wounded veterans through one or more of the WWP program pillars of body, mind, economic empowerment, and engagement.
"WWP has always made an effort to call and check on me. It could be just to chat about current events, to see if I'm doing alright, or to make sure I'm connected with the various programs that WWP has to offer," Joseph said. "They have not only provided me the opportunity to attend events that I would never have been able to otherwise, but also they have helped me get therapy when I couldn't afford it. I am truly blessed because of what they have done for me."
One important program WWP offers is Benefits Service, a program dedicated to helping wounded veterans, family members, and caregivers navigate the complexities of the Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). WWP's Benefits Service team works closely with both agencies in order to walk Alumni, family members, and caregivers through every step of the transition process to ensure claims are filed and correctly processed the first time. Learn more at https://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/programs/benefits-service.aspx.
About Wounded Warrior Project
The mission of Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) is to honor and empower Wounded Warriors. WWP's purpose is to raise awareness and to enlist the public's aid for the needs of injured service members, to help injured servicemen and women aid and assist each other, and to provide unique, direct programs and services to meet their needs. WWP is a national, nonpartisan organization headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida. To get involved and learn more, visit woundedwarriorproject.org.
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SOURCE Wounded Warrior Project