Wounded Warrior reception at Tropicana honors wounded veterans - NBC40.net

Wounded Warrior reception at Tropicana honors wounded veterans

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ATLANTIC CITY - Being a wounded war veteran can sometimes be a lonely venture.
"It helps me be normal per say again," explains retired Army Sgt. Juan Garcia.

Retired US Army Sergeant, Juan Garcia is like many wounded war veterans trying to reintegrate into civilian life. "Before I was really in my own little bubble, a really homie type person, couch potato. I didn't like going out," he continues.

Garcia who served 2 tours in Afghanistan was injured in battle, and his road to recovery was a bumpy one.

"I didn't like to come out as much," he says.

Which is why programs and events like Thursday's Warrior Welcome reception, at the Tropicana Casino is vital to the post–war healing process of wounded war vets.

"Being an injured veteran supporting and being able to give back to our own veterans and let them know all the veterans that are coming home that we won't forget them," says organizer Edward Afanador.

Organizers of the reception honored 21 wounded vets from around the country. Letting them know they are not alone, along with giving them the opportunity to speak with other wounded vets.

"These events, they're perfect because they bring us closer together, other wounded veterans and we talk about our experiences," says Sgt. Garcia.

"Its just to let them know that they can do things when they come home, and pursue a long life and enjoy themselves," explains Afanador.

"They've helped me out immensely. Just being around people again and understanding that people do care, and also the fact that they get you out there doing stuff," explains Major Bill Biondolillo.

Stuff like nature hikes, golf tournaments, and even skiing.

"Taught me how to ski. I ski at my own level, but its great being outside and enjoying nature again," says Major Biondolillo.

"Its very therapeutic on both ends, and we've seen some very remarkable things happen with our warriors," claims Afanador.

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