TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Nov. 21, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- From nori to bamboo mats to the perfect sticky rice, there is great effort that goes into the art of making sushi. A group of Wounded Warrior Project ® (WWP) veterans recently learned all about it during a cooking class in Tallahassee. Participants experienced firsthand what is possible when exposed to social events that get them out of the house and connected with fellow warriors.
Once warriors and guests chose from a variety of ingredients to customize their sushi rolls, culinary instructors provided tools and the guidance for the group to create their delicacies. Because practice makes perfect, there was an abundance of rolls by the end of the evening, allowing guests to bring their creations home after enjoying an on-site meal. "I love sushi, so I knew I wanted to get involved," said Marine and Army veteran Jason Hewitt. "I thought it would make a nice date night with my wife. We enjoyed learning to make the sushi, and meeting other wounded warriors was fun as well." WWP programs provide opportunities for injured veterans to form bonds in settings that accommodate their physical injuries and social anxieties. Encouraging warriors to recapture that military spirit with their peers decreases the potential for isolation, which helps them recover more easily during their healing process. In a WWP survey of the injured warriors it serves, more than half of survey respondents (51.7 percent) talked with fellow Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, or Operation New Dawn veterans to address their mental health issues. "The ability to connect with other wounded warriors is so important," Jason said. "We run into each other at outreach events, and we even try to organize little get-togethers when we can. It is relaxing to get out and do something with family and other veterans, away from everyday stressors."