By Stephen Lew, AW2 Advocate
As an AW2 Advocate, we attend events to support AW2 Soldiers, Veterans, and Families and to educate others on the support that AW2 provides for them. I attended the first ever Military Appreciation Night where the Lebanon Valley College (Dutchmen) Ice Hockey Team came to face off the Naval Academy Ice Hockey Team at the Hershey Park Arena in Hershey, PA.
Hershey Park Arena hosted this event as a fundraiser for wounded warriors through the nonprofit organization the Wounded Warrior Project, also known as WWP. This organization organizes fundraising activities and provides services and resources for wounded warriors.
As I stood at my AW2 table, I realized there is a common misconception that the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) is the same thing as AW2. AW2, the Army Wounded Warrior Program, is the official U.S. Army program serving severely wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers since 9/11. AW2 is Army lead and designed by the Soldier for the Soldier. AW2 works inside the network of Army, government, and local and national resources to help Soldiers, Veterans, and their Families resolve many issues. Wounded warriors may be eligible for a wide array of benefits in order to help them recover physically, prepare financially, and build their skills for a rewarding career. AW2 Advocates will ensure that AW2 Soldiers, Veterans, and their Families are connected with these benefits and services, which span:
- Career & Education
- Retirement and transition
- Services for Families
- Human Resources
It was a great opportunity to inform and educate numerous Veterans and non-Veterans about AW2 and great to see Veterans, active military, and civilians gather together. One of my AW2 Veterans, Robert Casler really enjoyed the game with his Family and seeing Veterans from all branches. In the end, Lebanon Valley Dutchmen rolled over the Naval Academy with a six to one final score and thousands of dollars were donated to support wounded warriors.
Thank you to the Lebanon Valley College Ice Hockey Team Head Coach, Tony Horacek and Assistant Coach, Spiros Anastasiadis, for connecting wounded warriors with this opportunity and future opportunities. I also thank the Wounded Warrior Project for complimenting the Army Wounded Warrior Program—we can’t do it alone.