Wounded Warriors ride catch some waves and harness healing in Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam issued an official proclamation dedicating Friday, Sept. 25 as “Disabled American Veterans Day” in honor of the national charity’s centennial anniversary.

In Virginia Beach, the Wounded Warrior Project and VB Surf Sessions showed their support for veterans by offering free surfing and paddleboard lessons.

A group of about 10 veterans and their families joined in on the morning session. 10 On Your Side talked with retired US Army soldier Donald Lacy, who’s been active with the group since 2011.

“I was in two different humvees that exploded. I was shot at numerous times. I had to have four back surgeries over there,” he said.

Lacy connected with the Wounded Warrior Project right after he retired.

“It’s like before I went to war, I had my thoughts and everything compartmentalized in a closet but when I came back that closet was in total disarray,” he said.

Katie Schrecker with The Wounded Warrior Project said this is an opportunity for veterans to come out of their shells and connect.

“A lot of times when people get out of the military, they kind of lose that sense of camaraderie with their brothers and sisters, so it gives them a chance to get back together and hang out with each other at the beach.”

“I’ve exchanged numbers with other guys that live in Newport News where I do and we talk — it’s like you ever just need to talk, I’ll be here I’ll listen to you for like four hours, I don’t’ care,” Lacy said.

He said it helps to talk with someone who can relate. It also helps to interact with family and maybe find everyone a new outlet for stress, such as grabbing a surfboard and hitting the water.

Lacy said while a veteran may be able to stand up on their own, why should they have to?

Whether the pain is physical or mental, there are people around and places veterans can go to to get back on their feet.

“Some wounds do get healed out here.”

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