Commentary: Wounded Warrior Project helps veterans to keep on winning

A war is over, but not the pain.

"When you lose both legs, you think you can't do anything," said Dan Nevins, an Iraq war veteran with a story to tell.

"The wounds last a lifetime."

But seven years after a roadside bomb in Iraq took one leg and eventually the other, Nevins shoots mid-70s golf, climbs mountains and recently won a Fort Worth cutting horse contest.

"It took somebody to say, 'Yes, you can do it,'" he said.

That's where the Wounded Warrior Project came in.

Nevins called to talk Tuesday because for more than 30,000 injured veterans, the war is never over.

A Billy Bob's Texas show Thursday night will star hometown singer Hudson Moore and raise money for the Florida-based Wounded Warrior charity.

"When you get home, the government basically just gives you what you need to survive," said Nevins, a retired Army staff sergeant from Maryland and leader of the charity's Warriors Speak outreach program.

As a disabled veteran, he said, he receives a "little bit of money" and medical care: "But it takes other groups to give you the things you need to really live again."

Basically, the Wounded Warrior group helps injured veterans find jobs and adjust physically and mentally.

Besides helping veterans adjust to their physical abilities, the charity helps them overcome stress through programs including week-long recovery retreats at Wildcatter Ranch near Graham.

Nevins said more than one veteran described being "just about to take my life" before finding help.

He joined Wounded Warrior after working on veterans programs for the Professional Golfers' Association.

That's where he met country radio personality Bob Kingsley, who made him a guest contestant two years ago for the annual Celebrity Cutting cancer charity event at Will Rogers Coliseum.

"It was all I could do to not fall off," Nevins said.

But he learned how to guide the horse with his hips.

This year, he came back on a team with Oklahoma rodeo bull rider J.W. Hart -- and won.

After one perfect ride, Nevins remembered, "the whole arena jumped up cheering."

He was already a winner.