Weekly matches have helped veterans with stress during pandemic

The Stank Squad fights off a swarm of snakes during their latest dungeon crawl.

SPRINGFIELD, Va. (March 15, 2022) – Dungeons & Dragons is being utilized by Hope For The Warriors, a national nonprofit, dedicated to restoring a sense of self, family and hope for veterans, service members and military families, as a key therapeutic tool for service members and veterans.

For more than a year, two cohorts comprised of more than a dozen veterans have been playing Dungeons & Dragons remotely in weekly matchups, logging over 108 hours of playing time between them.

When the United States went on lockdown from COVID, the inclusion of Dungeons & Dragons into HOPE’s array of programs couldn’t have come at a better time.

“Our most popular noted interest isn’t a specific activity – it’s the desire to connect with like-minded folks,” said Augustine Monroe social worker case manager for Hope For The Warriors. “During a time where social isolation is a common issue, D&D provides the camaraderie we search for through play.”

The game players have been enthusiastic in their support of HOPE’s Dungeons & Dragons venture.

“Hope For The Warriors D&D program has been incredibly valuable to me,” said D. Allen. “Not only has it been my connection to my veteran friends these past several months, but it has essentially been the only social activity in my life for some time as it’s been tough to leave the house among COVID concerns and having young children at home.

“I think it’s fair to say our entire party looks forward to each session eagerly. I can’t think of many activities better for building relationship than D&D. It’s definitely something more charities and veterans outreach groups should pursue.”

The weekly games are overseen by Hope For The Warriors’ Augustine Monroe and Hope For The Warriors volunteer Thomas McIntire, who developed and implemented the program for the nonprofit.

HOPE’s Dungeons & Dragons games create more than a few hours of activity on game night. Participants have set up chat groups and talk about the game and much more between scheduled competitions.

“For the last few months, the highlight of my week has been the chance to play Dungeons & Dragons with a bunch of fellow nerd warriors,” said N. Refsland. “It’s not just one night a week because we talk about it in group chats the whole week.

“The best part is, that it isn’t going to a bar and consuming unhealthy amounts of alcohol, and it doesn’t require travel. It’s a chance to laugh and think and have the kind of interactions we all miss having in uniform. It’s like being in the field from the comfort of a chair. If any one of those men needed help, I would be there for them. Because I need them to be there on Thursday (game night).”

For more information on joining the Hope For The Warriors Dungeons & Dragon cohort, visit hopeforthewarriors.org.

About Hope For The Warriors: Founded in 2006, Hope For The Warriors is a national nonprofit dedicated to restoring a sense of self, family and hope for post-9/11 veterans, service members and military families. Since its inception, Hope For The Warriors has served over 40,000 through a variety of support programs focused on clinical health and wellness, sports and recreation and transition. One of the nonprofit’s first programs, Military Spouse and Caregiver Scholarships, has awarded 183 scholarships to caregivers and families of the fallen. For more information, visit hopeforthewarriors.orgFacebookTwitter or Instagram.