PITTSBURGH – Video game night made a triumphant return to the Pittsburgh Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) office, providing injured veterans with a night of friendly competition, food, and fellowship. Stack-Up, a charity organization that brings veterans and civilian supporters together through a shared love of video gaming, co-hosted the event with WWP. While video gaming often carries the stereotype of being an anti-social activity, it’s the opposite for one Marine Corps veteran.
“I love going to Wounded Warrior Project events because they give me a chance to connect with other veterans,” said wounded warrior George Powell. “The game nights have been my favorite by far. With the way these gatherings are set up, anyone can jump in and out of the different game sessions. It makes it comfortable and easy to meet everyone.”
For George, gaming not only offers a chance to connect with warriors at WWP’s office but also outside of it – online, whenever he wants to. In a WWP survey of the injured warriors it serves, more than half of survey respondents (51.7 percent) talked with fellow veterans to address their mental health issues, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
“Video games have always been a big thing in my life; I played them growing up,” George said. “And they continued to be a big part of my life after leaving the military. I have PTSD, and there are days where the anxiety is pretty intense. I don’t get out as often as I would like. Gaming helps me stay connected with the outside world and my friends on those days when I feel that way. I can get online, connect with a friend, and talk about how I’m feeling. There’s no judgment, and while I’m doing that, I can also have fun in the process.”
For many veterans, the experiences they had in the military were some of the best of their lives, filled with camaraderie, meaning, and direction. It can be difficult knowing how to recreate those feelings. WWP and Stack-Up have hosted several game nights at WWP offices to provide bonding opportunities that extend beyond a single gathering.
About Wounded Warrior Project
Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) connects, serves, and empowers wounded warriors. Read more at http://newsroom.woundedwarriorproject.org/about-us.