Raytheon-No Barriers Expedition strengthens wounded veterans
For Marc Horne, the Grand Canyon, with its ever-changing scenery and breathtaking panoramas, is a special place -- the backdrop for an experience that gave him a renewed passion for life.
“Seeing nature in all of its glory reminded me that this world of ours has many wonders to reveal,” Horne said.
Horne was one of 13 disabled veterans on the 2018 Raytheon-No Barriers Veteran Wilderness Expedition at the Grand Canyon in Arizona.
The 2019 expedition will trek Big Bend National Park and the Rio Grande River in Southwest Texas on Oct. 5-13. It’s the sixth year that Raytheon and No Barriers Warriors have teamed for a Veteran Wilderness Expedition. Previous journeys took teams to the Rocky Mountains in Colorado and Wind River Range in Wyoming.
The expedition is designed to push participants physically and mentally, while providing a foundation for stretching goals, facing adversity and leading others.
After an 18-year career as a probation officer, Horne joined the military, following in the footsteps of his father, grandfather and many uncles before him.
Horne deployed to Iraq three times over a period of six years in the U.S. Army, and faced significant challenges during and after each tour of duty. He says he never felt quite the same when returning home, lacking the purpose he had when he first joined.
“I felt like I was existing, not living,” he said. “I just needed to see the world as it is, and not the world I was seeing [over there].”
Horne's decision to participate in the expedition marked the first step in his healing process. He had his fellow battle buddies, called the “rope team," there to support him. Team members depended on one another for support throughout the physically draining and emotionally challenging journey.
Veterans can also nominate themselves using the online application . The deadline for applications and nominations is July 7. Candidates must reside in Alabama, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma or Texas to take part in the nine-day trek.
“The Park and Rio Grande provide a spectacular arena to teach the 'No Barriers Life' and show veterans how to overcome challenges in their lives," said John Toth, No Barriers Warriors director. “As the team transitions from backcountry trekking to paddling down the Rio Grande, they'll support and inspire each other to redefine purpose, community and identity.”
For veterans interested in applying, Horne emphasizes the transformation and hope that last beyond the expedition.
“The world is not over for me,” Horne said, “I still have more to contribute and I can still be a part of this world, and I am so grateful for that.”