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Sunday, October 26, 2014
Assisting soldiers adjust to civilian life
Lawrence Yacht & Country Club hosts Wounded Warrior Project event on Sept. 21
Jeffrey Bessen/Herald
Wounded Warrior Project military service veterans will be honored with a day of golf, tennis and fishing at the Lawrence Yacht & Country Club. Above, event coordinators Dr. Robert Raider, left, and Barry Ringelheim, discussed plans.

The upstairs meeting room of the Lawrence Yacht & Country Club has been humming with activity for the past several Wednesday nights as volunteers have been involved in coordinating the Wounded Warrior Project day of golf, tennis and fishing at the village owned and operated club on Sept. 21.
Founded to help retuning soldiers adjust back to civilian life, the Wounded Warrior Project organization provides a variety of programs and services, such as stress recovery, family and peer support, transition work training and physical activities that encompasses sports, fitness, nutrition and wellness.
James O’Leary, the Wounded Warrior Project outreach coordinator for the metropolitan area, said that these type of events are overseen by the group’s alumni program that seeks to assist in rebuilding the veterans’ sense of camaraderie and identity they felt during their military service.
“[During] these events our warriors get to talk to their brothers and sisters who know what they went through, who share similar experiences, lost friends, etc.,” said O’Leary, a wounded warrior himself who served in the Army’s infantry in Iraq from Sept. 1, 2003 until he was severely wounded in a mortar attack on July 19, 2004.
He lost part of his left lung, had his ribs and shoulder shattered, lost a piece of the shoulder blade. As a result of O’Leary’s injuries he has medical issues with his back, knee and hip, and suffers with post-traumatic stress disorder. “Very often these events are the first time a warrior may come out of his or her house to meet other veterans,” he said. “It can be the first step in their recovery. Just knowing that there are other warriors out there who can relate to them, lets them know that they are not alone.”
Veterans who attend this event will certainly not be alone as the club’s pros will give golf and tennis clinics to introduce them to the sports, service men and women will golf and play tennis with club members, and go fishing on boats of those who rent dock space at the club’s marina.

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