Teams of soldiers – including members recovering from serious injuries – raced around Garmisch, Germany, in an Amazing Race-style competition put on by the American Red Cross, the Wounded Warrior Project and other partners.
The race on April 30 was held to highlight the challenges wounded soldiers face and to bring awareness to recovery resources available to them.
“Organizations like the American Red Cross provide critical services,” said Bruce Nitsche, special projects executive vice president for the Wounded Warrior Project. By working together, he said, “we can fulfill our vision of [having] the most successful and well-adjusted generation of wounded veterans in our nation’s history.”
Twenty teams of three soldiers—with at least one wounded soldier per team—raced around Garmisch, taking part in a competition modeled after the Amazing Race television show. Vying for prizes, the teams chased down clues and participated in challenges, including Zumba, catching the cable car to Eckbauer peak, downing a bowl of sauerkraut and racing canoes across a lake.
"When you are suffering from a brain injury or [post-traumatic stress disorder], events like this give you an opportunity to get back into the world and compete," said Sgt. Murray Milton, Warrior Transition Battalion Europe, Charlie Company. “Each day your world gets a little brighter and you see that recovery is possible.”
More than 50,000 servicemen and women have been injured in recent military conflicts. In addition to the physical wounds, an estimated 400,000 service members live with the invisible wounds of war, like combat-related stress, major depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Another 320,000 are believed to have experienced a traumatic brain injury while on deployment.
Related to the race event in Garmisch, service members and their families could take part in a resiliency training session, a Post Traumatic Stress Forum, a Red Cross Healing Arts class and a cultural tour around the city.
“I never knew the extent of care the Red Cross provides soldiers in need. Thank you,” Sgt. Milton said.
Each year the American Red Cross provides assistance to more than 2 million service members and many of the nation’s 24 million veterans through emergency communications, educational courses on deployment, responding to emergency needs, and supporting military members in the hospital.