News: Wounded Warriors, families connect with first ever Warrior Family Games
Story by Cpl. Jovane Holland
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – More than 200 wounded warriors, their spouses and dependents participated in Camp Pendleton’s first Warrior Family Games at the Wounded Warrior Battalion-West compound here, June 1.
The event, loosely based on the military’s annual Warrior Games, featured various sports and other physical activities, including rock climbing, tennis, track races, air-rifle shooting, horseback riding, seated volleyball wheelchair basketball and archery.
The goal was to get families involved in interacting physically with their Marines and getting a glimpse of the activities feature at the Warrior games, said Lt. Col. James R. Fullwood, commanding officer of Wounded Warrior Battalion-West.
“When a Marine is wounded, their family’s involvement in the recovery process is critical,” said Fullwood. “We’re using sports and activities to draw the families in and encourage them to be interactive with their Marines. It’s a vital part of rehabilitating these Marines mentally, physically and emotionally.”
For Amy Sanchez, a Marine spouse, the day served as a testament to the challenges Marine face and overcome on a daily basis.
“Seeing all the Marines out here having a great time and keeping active is awesome,” said Sanchez. “It really shows the families what being a Marine is all about.”
In addition to the fun and games, a cookout was also provided, offering everything from burgers and hot links to gourmet cupcakes and sugar cookies.
Many of the grills were manned by veteran volunteers from Vietnam-era to present day.
“We didn’t have anything like this for the Marines when I was on active duty,” said Don Robbins, a Vietnam veteran and volunteer with the battalion for more than a year. “I absolutely love the camaraderie and family bonding I see out here today. It just warms my heart.”
The atmosphere of the day provided perspective for not only spouses and dependents, but for other Marines as well.
"It’s been great for my son to come and see where I recovered, and I think the newer Marines are benefiting as well,” said Gunnery Sgt. Eric Osorio, who has been with the battalion for eight months. “Getting to see other Marines who have gone through the same struggles they’re facing lets them and their families know and see that things do and will get better.”