ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – This summer, New Mexico veterans are getting the chance to take in the great outdoors on a free nine-day expedition. The trip is designed to help wounded vets feel better about their capabilities. The program allows these brave men and women to get the chance to face their physical challenges head-on with other heroes going through the same thing.
“It’s an opportunity to take veterans that have disabilities, that served and have disabilities, and they may not feel that they’re fully capable,” said Richard Glover, site director for Raytheon, a sponsor of the expedition. “This is an opportunity for them to overcome some challenges and hike and river raft, and understand they can overcome challenges and feel a little bit better about themselves and their capabilities.”
A project rooted in nature with fresh air, adventures and camaraderie between those who served our country, it’s entirely dedicated to improving the lives of veterans with disabilities. Technology-based company Raytheon, which deals with military and security tech and innovations, has a location in Albuquerque and is getting behind the project to send local heroes on a trip that could change their lives.
“They camp, they talk and have discussions and take on another challenge, have some more discussions,” said Glover. “It’s good bonding and it’s mainly to help veterans with disabilities understand they can overcome those and they can still do the things that they need to do.”
Raytheon employs several wounded veterans and to show how much they’re appreciated, the company will foot the bill for them and other non-Raytheon-employed wounded veterans to attend. However, choosing who goes is not easy, so they’re asking those who want to go, to apply.
The program is put on by national organization No Barriers USA who puts on events for wounded warriors across the U.S. Many say the motivation throughout the No Barriers expedition changes their lives.
“It’s been life-changing for a number of vets who they served well and when they went off to Iraq or Afghanistan and they were in great shape and accomplishing a lot, then they get wounded, they get disabled, they think they’re not what they used to be and they can’t do what they used to do,” said Glover. “This helps them get back on track and say, you have a disability, but there’s a lot you can do. Let’s get that confidence back and let you see you can accomplish these things.”
For some of the veterans, seeing the name Raytheon may hold a deeper connection than a sponsorship. The technology company deals a lot with military and weapons operations.
“They add a lot to the decision process because you have people that have actually been in the field and have depended on Raytheon technologies to help them and to save them, whether it’s radar or it’s missiles,” said Glover. “They provide a different perspective to someone who’s never been out in the dirt.”
This year, the No Barriers Warriors expedition is taking 10 disabled veterans on a hike through Big Bend National Park in Texas and rafting on the Rio Grande. The nine-day expedition will be held sometime in October. Those interested in applying are encouraged to do so online before July 7.