Wounded Warrior Project’s ‘Carry Forward’ 5K brings message of hope

As a star basketball player and member of the Final Four for the University of Notre Dame, Danielle Green knows the value of being on a team and challenging oneself.

“I left the university as the 14th all-time leading scorer,” Green said. “So, I’m very proud of that, and I became the first one in my immediate family to graduate from college.”

Green knew she wanted to serve more. That push led her to join the ultimate team, the United States Army.

“I felt like I needed to be doing something more,” Green said. “That I needed to be doing something bigger than myself.”

But on May 25, 2004, the unthinkable happened. Green suffered a life-changing injury.

“I was patrolling on a rooftop in Baghdad, Iraq, at a police station when a rocket-propelled grenade separated my lower left hand from my body,” Green explained. “At the time, I didn’t know that my arm was missing because of the mixed messages. I prayed as I looked in the sky, and I prayed that I’d live.”

Green survived and credits her fellow soldiers with saving her life. She called them her heroes and shared vivid memories from her rescue.

“He took off his equipment, he put it on me, and he lifted me and carried me down 16 flights of stairs,” Green recalls. “And he carried me forward to the Humvee. The Humvee was scorching hot, but he saved my life.”

Green was later presented with a Purple Heart for her service and sacrifice. She’s now out of the military but tells her story of survival and how the Wounded Warrior Project was there for her during the most trying times.

As a spokesperson for the nonprofit, supporting the organization in return is her priority. Saturday morning, that will include taking part in the “Carry Forward” 5K. The goal is to help the nonprofit continue its mission of supporting and empowering wounded veterans and their loved ones.

Green wants to share a powerful message.

“It’s not about the missing arm, it’s about what I have left,” Green said. “I still have my mind, I still have my heart, I have my soul, I have my right hand. And then, I have this wonderful veteran service organization in Wounded Warrior Project, which has been there for me for the past 19 years.”

More than anything, she wants her fellow veterans to know they do not have to suffer alone.

“You don’t have to think that you can do this all on your own,” Green said. “I was an amputee. There was no way in the world I would know there’s help out here.”

Green’s other dream came true when her son, Daniel, was born. She said if he decides to follow her path of service, she wants him to know Wounded Warrior Project and other organizations will always be there.

“If he does serve and other generations serve, they need to know when they come back home that Wounded Warrior Project and other organizations have their back,” Green said. “And they will not have to go through their healing journey alone.”

Carry Forward Jacksonville will be held Saturday at Wounded Warrior Project’s headquarters off Belfort Road. Registration opens at 7 a.m. The opening ceremony begins at 8 a.m.

Wounded Warrior Project offers programs, resources, mental health counseling, etc. To learn more, visit Veterans Charity – Non Profit Organization for Veterans | WWP (woundedwarriorproject.org).

To see more of Danielle Green’s story, press play below:

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