WATSON ISLAND, Fla. (WSVN) — It was a day of making memories for a special group of servicemen and women who spent the day with their families at Jungle Island, Saturday, and it was all made possible by the Wounded Warrior Project.
Multi-talented parrots and endangered exotic birds put on quite the show for the guests. “We love doing whatever we can to support the troops, support their families,” said Jungle Island spokesperson Jason Chatfield. “They’re the reason this country is so great.”
The Wounded Warrior Project and Jungle Island hosted nearly 100 injured servicemen and women together with their families.
For Eddie O’Neal, events like this make a significant difference. “I’ve been with the Wounded Warrior Project since 2007, when I came back from Iraq, and it’s just been an opportunity to get back involved in life,” he said.
O’Neal said it was difficult to adjust to civilian life once he returned from serving overseas. “It’s really a marvelous occasion, because my daughter really likes animals,” he said. “She wants to be a veterinarian, and being able to come over here and see endangered species is very cool.”
It was an opinion echoed by his daughter Arianna. “This place is just a whole lot of animals, and it’s just amazing,” she said.
The children got a chance to get up close and personal with exotic animals, in some cases even conquering their fears.
Brave little ones took pictures with snakes, pet a lemur and even interacted with a baby kangaroo.
It was an unforgettable day for these families. “Waking up today with my family, and we’re able to do all this, all together,” said Tiffany Morton, the wife of wounded U.S. Marine Jeffery Morton.
A marine and his family of five not taking for granted every moment spent together.
“We’re just taking it day by day, and things like this really help,” said Jeffery.
And that’s the mission for the Wounded Warrior Project. “We focus not just on the military member, but we focus on the families,” said Wounded Warrior spokesperson Jack Miller. “and today is a perfect example where we have women and children, husbands, wives, a whole family together, having fun together.”
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