Returning home from war is a jarring experience. Re-adapting to the differing norms and lowered adrenaline of civilian life is an intense struggle. For servicemen and women who have suffered physical and emotional wounds from combat, this re-adjustment is even more difficult. The need for support, hope, and empowerment is essential for wounded veterans and the families who care for them.
One group that seeks to provide this kind of support is the national nonprofit organization, Combat Wounded Coalition. They seek to inspire wounded warriors through the four pillars of their program: Pride, Power, Purpose, and Peace. In their words, “Our goal is to re-forge our nation’s leaders and create the next greatest generation.”
Their signature event to empower combat wounded warriors, caregivers, and families of the fallen is called Jumping for a Purpose. The organization uses “skydiving as a means to show them that if they can overcome the anxiety of jumping from a perfectly good airplane, there are few obstacles in life that they cannot overcome.”
Earlier this month, the Combat Wounded Coalition hosted a Jumping for a Purpose empowerment event and fundraiser in Virginia Beach, Va. ClearanceJobs had the honor and pleasure of sponsoring Edward, a Navy veteran, who participated in the Jump for a Purpose and was kind enough to share about his experience as a wounded warrior and how this event encouraged him.
ClearanceJobs: Tell me a little about yourself. Where did you grow up and what made you want to join the military?
Edward: I lived in a lot of places, but I mostly grew up in Connecticut. I wanted to join the military when the 9/11 attacks happened.
CJ: What was your experience like serving in the Navy? What have you taken away from it?
Edward: My experience was extraordinary. I was twenty-years-old when I joined. I was a Seabee, so I did the building and was able to bring my plumbing experience to my work. I also learned so many combat skills. My best memory of the Navy is having a brotherhood of closeness that I will take with me for the rest of my life.
CJ: What was life like after leaving the military? What was your greatest challenge? How has that made an impact in day-to-day life for you and for your family?
Edward: My life since serving has been an uphill battle; it is a struggle for me every day. I came back wounded and broken from my first deployment to Iraq. Now my challenge is living in the civilian world. It is hard on my family and I have lost all of my very closest male family support. I have had a tremendous amount of loss at this very early stage of my life. It really hurts. My life has been turned upside down. I have inside wounds that I cannot seem to shake. At times when I wake up I say to myself, “Where do I go from here?”
CJ: Have you felt like you have the support system you need? How did you hear about Combat Wounded Coalition and the Jumping for a Purpose event?
Edward: My mother is my huge support system, but I feel like I do not have support at all in Connecticut. My hope is that I can find the right support system and the right help for me. I heard of Combat Wounded Coalition on the internet and wanted to get involved with this wonderful organization.
CJ: What was it like being up in the air like that? Had you ever experienced anything like it?
Edward: It was a breathtaking moment in the air. When I came out of the plane, I could not breathe. Then I felt so much power. It truly uplifted my spirits.
CJ: If there’s one thing you could say to other struggling veterans, what would it be?
Edward: I would say to other struggling veterans to keep pushing and don’t give up.
If you’re interested in supporting Combat Wounded Coalition or are a veteran looking to get involved, you can visit: https://combatwoundedcoalition.org/