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 team took part in a nine-day trek that included rafting more than 87 miles down the Colorado River and a 9-mile hike up the Bright Angel Trail. The expedition is designed to push participants physically and mentally, while providing a foundation for stretching goals, facing adversity and leading others.
“When our brave men and women in uniform return...with physical, mental or emotional injuries, we want to help them overcome their challenges and rebuild their lives,” said Dr. Taylor W. Lawrence, Raytheon Missile Systems president. “Partnering with No Barriers Warriors on these challenging expeditions is one way Raytheon gives back to soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines who have sacrificed so much for their country.”
This year's team hailed from Alabama, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, and from all branches of the armed forces. Click on the profiles below to learn more about each participant.
This is the fifth year that Raytheon and the nonprofit organization 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.
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.
“It was hard opening up to people, sharing my problems and listening to their feedback," he said.
Before the expedition, Horne would spend weeks inside his house because he didn't trust people. Talking to his teammates helped him move past the barriers he had put in his life and the barriers that life presented him.
The veteran now has a new perspective and hope for the future.
“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.”
Meet the 2018 Veteran Wilderness Expedition team: