Wounded Warrior Project program gets injured veterans on right 'TRACK'

Wounded warriors often have a difficult time re-entering society

Author: John Honore, Meteorologist, jhonore@ksat.com
Published On: Jul 20 2012 05:12:04 PM CDT   Updated On: Jul 20 2012 05:45:31 PM CDT
SAN ANTONIO -

The Wounded Warrior Project's year-long TRACK program is designed to get men and women coming home with battle wounds on the path to success in civilian life.

"The statistics show people getting out of the military, when they're just injured and doing it on their own, is very low that they succeed academically," said Michael Owens, dean of students of the TRACK program, and a himself Wounded Warrior.

He lost his right arm serving in the Marines in Iraq.

The program has the wounded warriors enrolled at classes at local community colleges.

Getting them to succeed academically is one goal of this program, but it may not be the most important one.

"Its the way we are. We stab. We thrust. We fight, but now you can't do that. You can't walk in and say, 'Buy my product or I'll stab you in the throat!' You can't do that," said 24-year-old Joshua Holm, of Akron, Ohio, who lost a leg to an improvised explosive blast while serving in the Army in Iraq.

"Getting to participate in a lot of social events. Going on the runs and the bike rides. It just really helped me get more comfortable being in public and being around people," said Evan Hudec, who suffered a traumatic brain injury, as well as PTSD, from multiple improvised explosive blasts in multiple tours of duty while serving in the Marines in Iraq.

"They're worried about what they look like. They're worried about how they are doing things or they have an injury that everyone can see," said Owens.

Fourteen wounded warriors graduated from this year's TRACK program on Friday.

They now have a better chance at succeeding in civilian life.

"The TRACK program has forced me to have to be in society to deal with these things. To do an internship with normal people and its worked out fabulous," said Holm, who now plans to go on to the University of Akron and Carnegie Mellon University to study engineering.

Hudec plans to finish his bachelor's degree at UTSA and eventually become an academic adviser at that university.