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Wounded Warrior hike in Red Rock beneficial to veterans

Picturesque Red Rock Canyon was the setting for a recent Wounded Warrior Project hiking event that gave injured veterans an opportunity to exercise and share quality time with their veteran peers and others from their community.

“I saw this as a great opportunity to hike with a group of people,” Air Force veteran Stacy Neagles said. “I love hiking, but typically end up going alone. The hike was great, and we had awesome guides that were knowledgeable about the area. We even learned a little history about the canyon.”

The Wounded Warrior Project program gatherings offer settings that provide opportunities for injured veterans to connect with one another and their communities.

The program also serves warriors by focusing on mental and physical health and wellness, financial wellness, independence, government relations, and community relations and partnerships.

“I try to attend most Wounded Warrior Project events that occur here in Vegas,” Neagles said. “The events have been a safe place to interact with others that have ‘been there.’ There’s an unspoken understanding that we have with each other.”

Isolation is one of the most significant struggles wounded warriors deal with after serving their country. It can be difficult knowing how to overcome that challenge and rekindle bonds similar to those formed in the military.

“The hike was inspirational,” Army veteran Deonty Eastmon said. “I’ve signed up for a mental health workshop and plan to do as many events as I can in my area. To me, Wounded Warrior Project programs encourage others to get active. I’ve realized that I don’t have to isolate myself.”

In a Wounded Warrior Project survey of the injured warriors it serves, 30.3 percent of survey respondents expressed physical activity helps them cope with stress and emotional concerns.

Programs like this highlight the importance of managing mental health through physical activity and connecting with other veterans, organizers said.

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