FORT PIERCE, Fla. - At Ft Pierce Inlet State Park wounded veterans were honored Friday in a different way... by teaching them how to surf!
It was a beautiful day to be riding waves.
But these weren't your typical first time surfers. They're local veterans being helped by the Wounded Warrior Project.
Kelley Palmer, who is the physical health and wellness coordinator for the Wounded Warrior Project, knows how surfing helps. "Surfing is a great outlet for the warriors. It provides them with not only a great physical skill, but also helps them mentally as well."
This is the second year for the event.
"Last year I just kinda went on a whim, thinking it was going to be a good time and turns out it really was. I was up the first time, had some great instructors and great people helping us out, and I seem to have a natural knack for it too. This year I knew it was going to be a good time so I wasn't going to miss it for anything," said Patrick Ramey, an Iraq vet.
But it's not just about having a good time, it's therapy.
Give the great veterans a board, some waves, and a gorgeous South Florida day…you can't get better therapy than that.
Suzette Kachmaryk is a Wounded Warrior, and loves getting in the ocean. "All the symptoms that I deal with on a day to day basis…coming to activities like this takes my mind away from all of that and helps me just to enjoy the day."
Ramey also agrees, "It's great exercise and it's no impact…and it's also good for the mind. You can get out there and clear your mind, and forget all your worries at home and go surf."
For some it may take a few tries….. and a few wipeouts…. before finally scoring that ride.
For the Wounded Warrior Project , it's another way to help vets make the transition back to civilian life.
Palmer says, "Our mission is to honor and empower wounded warriors and we want to make sure that this is the most well adjusted generation of injured veterans in our nation's history"