Wounded Warriors: WII Program Is Life-Changing

Wounded warriors credit the Navy’s Wounded, Ill, and Injured Program (WII) with changing their lives.

The Naval Medical Center San Diego honored volunteers, partners and donors for the WII Program Wednesday.

The program provides therapy to sick and injured service members with activities including adaptive sports, community reintegration, exercise therapy and mind-body medicine.

The special ceremony recognized those who donated money and bicycles to replace 16 bikes belonging to the Ride for Recovery program that were stolen last March.

"We are blessed to live in a community that cares so much about our Wounded, Ill and Injured," said Kim Elliott, NMCSD Recreation Therapist. "Their kindness and generosity allowed us to continue our cycling programs without missing a beat."

“We’re grateful beyond measure. I can’t even really explain how wonderful this is for those of us who are going through this program and avail ourselves of these resources,” said Michael Rioux, a WII Program recipient.

Dave Rayder, who lost his leg in Vietnam, said it provides him more freedom of movement. “Being on a hand cycle gives me that option to be out there and feel free and be able to move. Having this program has been 100 percent productive for me and all the other patients who come through it.”

“I think it’s absolutely fantastic both for the local groups that have helped, and the local volunteers, and the folks from out of the area,” Rioux said. “Now we’ve got even more capacity, not just in the uprights that were stolen but in the recumbents for folks like myself who can’t ride an upright. We’ve got some new equipment that’s in much better shape than what we had before. And it’s an absolutely amazing thing.”

Capt. José A. Acosta, Commander, NMCSD, and Rear Adm. Bruce L. Gillingham, Commander, Navy Medicine West made remarks at the ceremony.

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