WOUNDED WEAR SPONSORS ‘JUMPING FOR A PURPOSE’ AT VIRGINIA BEACH OCEANFRONT
There was no trace of uncertainty when Greg Hedrick joined the U.S. Army as an 11th grader in 2003. He was the ¬first member of his family to do so, but military service was nothing new to the Hedrick family, as other members of his family had already served in every branch. Military service runs in their blood.
Twelve years after Hendrick took his initial oath, he finds himself in a Virginia Beach hotel conference room with other veterans, all who have at least two things in common: they are all going skydiving as part of Wounded Wear’s “Jump for a Purpose” campaign, and all were wounded in combat.
Hedrick’s career as an infantry mortarman made an abrupt change at the nine-year mark of his service during his third deployment. While in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), Hedrick and his team were struck by an RPG while pulling security duty for a vehicle that had been damaged by an IED. One team member perished and three were injured. Hedrick was one of the three.
“MY INITIAL REACTION WAS ONE OF, ‘WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME? WHAT DID I DO TO DESERVE THIS? IT WASN’T LONG BEFORE MY ATTITUDE CHANGED TO ANGER TOWARD THE PEOPLE WHO DID THIS TO ME BEFORE EVENTUALLY REALIZING THAT MY SACRIFICE WAS IN THE SERVICE OF MY COUNTRY. IT REALLY CHANGED MY PERSPECTIVE.”
— GREG HEDRICK
It was at this time that Wounded Wear, founded by former U.S. Navy SEAL and combat- wounded veteran Jason “Jay” Redman in 2009, came onto Hedrick’s radar. Wounded Wear’s vision is to guide combat-wounded warriors to and a purpose-driven life and peace of mind after the impact of war. Jay’s personal story is a testament to wounded warriors and all Americans that there is no obstacle that cannot be overcome if you have the drive, determination and tenacity to rise above.
Wounded Wear was built on the premise that combat-wounded warriors should wear their scars with pride. Whereas the public generally misinterprets combat-related injures, Wounded Wear channels the attention and champions the scars worn by our nation’s heroes. It changes in the way people interact with wounded warriors and it challenges the warriors to discover the hero within.
“When I first met Greg at an event, I reached out to him, just like I do with every combat-wounded veteran I meet,” said Redman. “I want all warriors to know that Wounded Wear does more than supply clothing. We are a one-stop shop that is here to support them in all phases of their lives, ultimately creating peace and purpose.”
Redman and the team at Wounded Wear invited Hedrick, along with 24 other wounded American heroes, to participate in the annual Jumping for a Purpose event held in conjunction with USO Warrior Week at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront.
“Jumping for a Purpose is not just about going skydiving,” said Redman. “It’s about overcoming the fear that holds us back. It’s about stepping into the unknown. When a person has been through so much, it is a symbolic departure from their previous mindset to their realization that they are truly capable of doing something amazing.”
It was Hedrick’s first Patriotic Festival as well as his first jump as part of the Jumping for a Purpose program, but certainly not his first event with Wounded Wear. In fact he attributes his new perspective to Wounded Wear because he believes that they have the best understanding of the challenges that combat-wounded veterans face. He also draws strength and support from others like him.
“Wounded Wear is my favorite organization to work with,” said Hedrick. “They do the most that they can to help as many of us as possible and there is no drive to profit off of it. It’s genuine and that’s what makes them great.”
These days, Hedrick and his family peacefully reside in North Carolina. He continues to participate in Wounded Wear events, not just because of the support it gives him, but also because he understands how much an impact he can have on others. His final words for others, “I would do it all again. I have found that it only gets easier because the hardest part is always behind you.”
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