A group of wounded veterans and their families went back in time to experience five billion years of the earth's history at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. The group spent the day walking among dinosaurs, visiting with other wounded veterans, and exploring the special exhibit 'Pterosaurs: Flight in the Age of Dinosaurs'.
This event is part of the Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) Alumni program which provides support through shared experiences for injured service members and their families. The WWP Alumni program is one of 20 free programs and services offered by WWP.
It was the first time visiting the museum for most of the more than 60 wounded veterans and family members. Many WWP Alumni face similar challenges; and these activities offer wounded veterans a chance to come together and connect with other Alumni.
John Conway is a National Guard veteran and WWP Alumnus. "Events like this bring together warriors who are having the same struggles," John said. "It's a super highway of healing and networking. I even had another WWP Alumnus help me apply for a service dog, and I'm now on the list."
With three large floors of history to explore, they divided into groups after seeing the special exhibit organized by the American Museum of Natural History. The group learned that Pterosaurs were not birds or dinosaurs, but reptiles; and the first vertebrates to fly by gliding through the air and not flapping their wings. These reptiles ranged in size from as large as a plane to as small as a bird.
The group was able to see fossils, life-size models, and compare pterosaur bones with those of a dinosaur. A virtual wind tunnel to experience the principles of pterosaur aerodynamics was part of the interactive exhibits, along with the opportunity to pilot a flying pterosaur over a prehistoric landscape.
"These events bring back the camaraderie some of us need or just miss. At this event I made a new friend who's a young warrior and struggling. I connected her to the right people and she is now getting the help she needs," John said.