For Hometown news
ST. LUCIE COUNTY - Park rangers and adult and teen surfers volunteered, surfed, cheered and supported four Wounded Warriors by introducing them to the sport of surfing on Sept. 21. It was the first Wounded Warrior Surf Event held at Fort Pierce Inlet State Park, in collaboration with Wounded Warrior Project, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to honor and empower Wounded Warriors.
"Our focus was to let these Wounded Warriors know how much we care about them, and to share our favorite sport with them," said Bruce Strunk, owner of Spunky's Surf Shop.
"Just like much of the military, our community of surfers is a tight-knit group and many of our volunteers were either veterans or have close ties to the military. We wanted to let these men and women know we appreciate their service, and to aid in their recovery. It was an honor to watch the Warriors successfully complete the day's mission of learning to stand up on a surfboard."
The four WWP alumni came from central and south Florida, with some traveling up to three hours to participate.
One warrior in particular said that not only was it his first time surfing but his first time to see the Atlantic Ocean.
The Wounded Warriors were escorted into the park with a Florida State Trooper, and then greeted by applause from more than 30 volunteers. Together they sang the national anthem before beginning their surf lessons.
Each warrior was assigned a core team of four volunteers to help them surf, with other volunteers offering encouragement and support.
The rangers from the Fort Pierce Inlet State Park, along with volunteers and staff from Spunky's surf shop, then joined together for a group luncheon. The alumni thanked the volunteers and said the event was very meaningful because it shows veterans the community is acknowledging their experiences.
Each warrior left with a smile, and was also given a goody bag filled with surf-related items and a framed photo of the event, signed by the volunteers.
The mission of the Wounded Warrior Project is to honor and empower wounded warriors. WWP's purpose is to raise awareness and enlist the public's aid for the needs of injured service members, to help injured servicemen and women aid and assist each other and to provide unique, direct programs and services to meet their needs.
WWP is a national, nonpartisan organization headquartered in Jacksonville.
For more information, visit woundedwarriorproject.org.