Watertown— The Wounded Warrior project has made it their mission to honor and empower wounded warriors. Wounded Warriors have been successfully reaching out to the community, helping injured military men and women with various needs.
Inspired by the WWP, the local Watertown Family YMCA has made an ongoing effort to show support and appreciation for military members serving our great nation. The Watertown YMCA supports active duty men and women who have sustained an injury or disability while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. Executive Director, Steve Rowell of the local YMCA expressed how much YMCA enjoys helping wounded soldiers, “We love doing anything to give back to wounded soldiers and providing them with free membership is the least we can do.”
Membership Director, Linda Alexander walks soldiers through the membership process and ensures that all necessary paperwork is turned in. “What prevents an easy transition is not having the right information and forms”, explained Ms. Alexander. A wounded soldier should request a letter from their attending physician. There are approximately 10-15 wounded soldiers at the local Watertown, YMCA. According to Ms. Alexander, processing a soldier takes less than a day, as the YMCA prefers for wounded warriors to use the facilities as soon as possible.
Soldiers, who have sustained injuries or are now disabled as a result of operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom (OIF/OEF), can enjoy free membership to the YMCA. Proof of eligibility must be provided, which are the following:
1. Service member will provide a copy of Valid Military ID
2. A letter, from one of the following sources, stating that a YMCA membership would be beneficial in the treatment / recovery of the individual (Commander, Physician, Physical Therapist, Counselor, Psychologist or Psychiatrist).
Every 6 months, the YMCA would need to verify the above requirements. However, as long as disabled wounded warriors can provide the requirements, membership remains free. Currently, there is not a limit on how long wounded or disabled soldiers can partake in the free membership program. However, according to Ms. Alexander most soldiers PCS to other locations and usually only partake in the free membership program for a year. Not all YMCA locations offer free membership to wounded veterans who has served in Iraq or Afghanistan. Soldiers that are looking to partake in this program should consider the membership requirements and contact your local YMCA for more information.