ELIZABETHTOWN — The Elizabethtown Rotary Club officially presented Frankie Oxendine of the Wounded Warrior Project with a donation from money raised at the recent 8K Trail Run and Walk that was held in April at Brown’s Creek Nature Park & Bike Trail along East Broad Street.
Former Rotarian President Paul Norris made the presentation and told those gathered that there were about 100 participants for the second annual 8K Trail Run and Walk.
Oxendine also talked with the group about the Wounded Warrior Project and its activities.
“Wounded Warrior Project is very near and dear to my heart,” said Oxendine.
He told the group about his first experience with Wounded Warrior Project was while he and a friend recovered from injuries they received while deployed. Oxendine said that, later, he was serving at Guantanamo Bay when his wife asked if he had thought about working with Wounded Warrior Project.
Oxendine said that WWP receives no financial support from the federal government.
“We answer to you, because our money comes from private citizens,” said Oxendine.
He said the group assists veterans from Gulf War 2001 to the present. Oxendine said that is because the group wishes to help this generation.
Oxendine said the mission of WWP is to empower and honor wounded veterans.
He said a wounded warrior can never “max out” his or her benefits through WWP. Oxendine said many of the warriors he works with suffer from traumatic brain injuries and/or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He explained that for those individuals, their injuries are not necessarily ones that are visible.
Oxendine said that WWP has a program called Project Odyssey which takes the wounded veterans and teaches them life skills. He said that the organization will take the veterans and their families out on trips that are called adventure trips. While on those trips, they will participate in activities such as canoeing, fishing, horseback riding, and rope courses.
Oxendine said the idea of the various activities is to teach communication skills not only to the wounded warrior but also to their families or care givers.
He added when a warrior comes into the program, there is no set time frame for his or her recovery.
Oxendine also discussed the WWP logo explaining that is a soldier assisting a fellow soldier.
Oxendine noted that once a warrior enters the program they are alumni and many of the alumni go on to volunteer as mentors.
“If you put on a uniform, you are a part of the greatest generation,” said Oxendine.
—Erin Smith can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.