Wounded Warriors Find Healing Snorkeling at Molokini

December 13, 2017, 11:23 AM HST · Updated December 13, 2:44 PM
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Army veteran Brad Juliano and family prepare to set sail on a snorkeling adventure with Wounded Warrior Project. (PRNewsfoto/Wounded Warrior Project)

Injured veterans and their families mingled with fish and wildlife at Molokini Crater during a recent Wounded Warrior Project® connection event.

With at least 100 to 150 feet of prime diving visibility below them, the group put on masks, fins, and snorkels as they tapped into the healing powers of nature and physical activity.

Army veteran Brad Juliano said he had fun with his kids and fellow snorkelers as they floated and observed nature’s beauty. “My highlights were actually snorkeling and getting to meet other Wounded Warrior Project veterans,” he said.

The warriors and families interacted with colorful fish, viewed beautiful reefs, and visited a local bird sanctuary.

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In a WWP survey of the injured warriors it serves, 30.3% of survey respondents expressed that 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.

“I work closely with veterans in my civilian job as the outreach counselor for the Maui Vet Center,” Juliano said. “To me, Wounded Warrior Project means camaraderie, disabled veterans being taken care of, and making memories bonding with loved ones and fellow veterans.”

Army veteran Samantha Toro also enjoyed the calm waters and ocean breeze, but she said connecting with people was the best part.

“I liked hanging out with my kids, boyfriend, and fellow veterans on the water,” she said. “Wounded Warrior Project helps connect veterans to communities, and it would be great to see more veterans and their families out utilizing other wonderful Wounded Warrior Project programs.”

WWP program events like this give wounded warriors 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.


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