Injured veterans and family support members recently connected over sage recovery advice during an all-female Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) connection event.
West Point graduate, four-time Ironman Triathlon athlete, and veteran Dr. Carolyn Furdek provided the women insight into military and civilian mental health systems, as well as the medical fight that remains for veterans on the home front. She also addressed the need for quality self-care for veterans and members of their support networks.
“I had half of my thyroid removed this past July from thyroid cancer,” said Emily Mackowski, wife of Army veteran Jeff. “After caring for myself and my husband, I was physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted. I realized from my cancer experience that I needed to do better with my self-care.”
The women began the evening by dancing to Whitney Houston’s “I’m Every Woman.” They also shared some of their personal experiences with WWP Talk, Warrior Care Network, and other WWP programs.
The female warriors and family members mingled while enjoying a delicious meal and received a free, signed copy of Furdek’s book, “Locked In: A Soldier and Civilian’s Struggle with Invisible Wounds.”
“I’ve gone to female empowerment events before and loved them,” Mackowski said. “Women’s events are energizing because you’re surrounded by strong women who are living similar lives.”
During the event, the ladies learned about tools to help them succeed in their recoveries. They discussed the importance of self-care and ways to better manage and strengthen these efforts. They also wrote themselves self-love letters, which will be mailed back to them within six months for additional emotional support.
“The guest speakers gave me hope for my warrior,” Mackowski said. “If I need more support, I now know there are programs and people out there to help.”
WWP program events like this give wounded warriors and family members an opportunity to experience firsthand what is possible at social gatherings that get them out of the house and connect them with fellow service members and their communities.
WWP connects, serves, and empowers wounded warriors. Read more at woundedwarriorproject.org/about-us.