Donning a U.S. armed forces uniform is something that comes with great risk and the men and women who step up to take on the challenge of protecting America through military service often come home with injuries, both the visible and the invisible kind.
While many of wounds that the country’s service members receive can easily be seen, there are plenty that hide in plain sight. These invisible wounds may not be simple to spot but they are no less impactful than a lost limb, damaged eyesight or other physical injury. No matter what type of harm a veteran experiences, however, they deserve to have access to resources that can help them as they transition back into civilian life and one national nonprofit, Wounded Warriors Project, has spent the last 18 years striving to provide this support so that every veteran has the best chance possible to pursue their next mission in life.
Right here in Pahrump, the Wounded Warrior Project, or WWP, has a staunch supporter in resident Denise Flanagan, a veteran herself whose zeal for the organization has led her to create an annual fundraiser that gives the local community the opportunity to have some fun while generating funds to support WWP, entitled “Bowling for Our Wounded Warriors”.
Coming up to the third annual fundraiser, this event is relatively new to the community but it is one that has quickly drawn a following and Flanagan is optimistic that this year’s endeavor will be just as successful, if not more so, than the two that have come before.
“This will be the third time I have organized this event, and it is so much fun, our locals just love it,” Flanagan told the Pahrump Valley Times. She noted that she usually aims to host the bowling fundraiser in February each year, between the Super Bowl and the Daytona 500 but this year, with the COVID-19 limited capacity rules still in place at the beginning of 2021, she decided to hold off on the fundraiser until such limits were lifted. Now, with just days to go before the event, Flanagan said she is quite excited to see its return and she is encouraging everyone in the community, whether they bowl or not, to stop by on Dec. 5 to show their support for those who have sacrificed their own health and safety to preserve that of others.
“The purpose in helping Wounded Warrior Project is to transform the lives of America’s injured veterans,” the flyer for the event reads. “Every dollar raised provides lifesaving programs and services that empower wounded warriors as they take on their next mission in life. Warriors never pay a penny for WWP programs, because they paid their dues on the battlefield.”
Flanagan, a 27-year Air Force veteran, said the WWP has been a passion of hers for many years and she initially got involved with the organization in 2005. Having witnessed the effects of war firsthand, Flanagan said she is inspired to do whatever she can to help those who have served after they return from duty.
“Over 70% of our warriors are living with the invisible wounds of war, like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, known as PTSD, anxiety and depression. It’s like I tell people; a ‘wound’ isn’t always something you can see,” Flanagan said. “Since its inception, WWP has helped hundreds of thousands of warriors and their families, at no cost to them. Over 500,000 have been diagnosed with invisible injuries.”
Offering an example of the impact WWP can have, Flanagan touched on a veteran she had recently met while out collecting donations for the upcoming bowling event. “He told me he had been injured in the Middle East. When he came back, his physical injuries were taken care of but his mental issues were large. He was thinking of taking his own life but then he saw a commercial on TV for WWP. He called them and I am so grateful he did, because I got the chance to meet him and thank him for what he did. This is why I do what I do. Bowling for our wounded warriors is my way of giving back,” she detailed.
While bowling is the name of the game at this fundraiser, Flanagan said there is another big draw for attendees in the form of a series of raffles offering all sorts of items.
“Aside from the special for bowling, the raffle we hold attracts many people as well. I have items for it from so many gracious local businesses, plus, I received four tickets to the NASCAR race at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March,” an obviously enthusiastic Flanagan said.
In addition to the coveted NASCAR tickets, there will be all kinds of other prizes available in the raffle as well, ranging from a bowling ball and handmade leather goods to salon gift certificates, restaurant gift cards and much more. All of these items have been generously donated by area businesses and Flanagan will be sure to give a shout-out to each of them when the event comes to a close.
“Of course, we are always looking for more items to add to the raffle so anyone willing to help out, please contact me. Our local businesses have been so supportive, it blows my mind. They are so giving,” Flanagan remarked.
All ages are welcome to enjoy the event, general admission for which is free. To participate in the bowling itself, the cost is just $10 per person. This price includes a shoe rental and three games of 9-pin, no tap bowling. For those unfamiliar with this type of bowling, Flanagan explained, “9-pin, no tap is when the alley is set up so that if a person gets nine pins of their first ball, it counts as a strike. People love it!”
There is no deadline to sign up, patrons can simply show up the day of the event and have a ball.
Raffle tickets will be on sale for six for $5. Those who want to put in for the NASCAR tickets, valued at $400, will need to purchase at least 10 tickets to enter that particular raffle. There will also be a 50/50 raffle, tickets for which are $1 each.
For those who would like to lend a hand in the effort to raise funds for WWP but cannot make it to the event this weekend, donations can be made online by visiting bit.ly/3E1zMF8
Bowling for Our Wounded Warriors will take place on Sunday, Dec. 5 from noon to 5 p.m. at the Pahrump Nugget Hotel and Casino, 681 S. Highway 160.
For more information contact Flanagan at 775-209-0783 or the Nugget Bowling Alley at 775-751-6525.
Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at firstname.lastname@example.org