Wounded veterans who have lived the challenges of working in war zones faced a new challenge Friday afternoon at White Rock Lake in Dallas: rowing.
"It's harder than I thought," laughed Annie Stevens, a veteran who served in the Army from 1991 to 2005. "It was something that was on my bucket list and I just cannot believe that I actually got to do it!"
Stevens's wounds are not visible on the outside.
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"I suffered extreme social anxiety and I have PTSD," Stevens said. "I suffered from Military Sexual Trauma when I was deployed and sustained other injuries."
The Wounded Warrior Project Soldier Ride gave Stevens and more than 50 other wounded veterans a chance to bond with people who understand the challenges of coming home from a war zone.
"We don't want to be labelled as less-than or handicap, because we are all proud to have served," explained Stevens.
Veterans got instructions about proper rowing form and then hit the water with volunteers from the White Rock Rowing Club.
"Once you get into sync it's really motivating," said veteran Stephen Carter. "It's really encouraging. It's like, I can do this. I can be coordinated. I can still work with my peers, work with my teammates and move this boat around."
Carter was injured by an IED, improvised explosive device, in Afghanistan.
"It's not like we went overseas not knowing what we were getting into," Carter explained. "But we got through it with our brothers and sisters."
On Saturday, the Wounded Warrior Project Soldier Ride will take veterans to AT&T Stadium and the Fort Worth Stockyards.