GRAND CANYON (Tucson News Now) - Overcoming barriers and living a life of purpose; that's part of a mission a group of southern Arizona veterans just completed.
For the past 10 days, 10 veterans took on mother nature, and themselves, hiking and rafting in the rugged wilderness of the Grand Canyon.
Veterans don't retreat, they advance. They break through barriers, they climb over obstacles, and they advance forward in life.
No Barriers Warriors, a non-profit organization, helps them do just that with outdoor expeditions and challenges.
There's no cost to the veterans, thanks to a sponsorship from Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson.
"Raytheon's mission is to make the world a safer place and that includes making it a safer place for our war fighters," said Raytheon Missile Systems President Dr. Taylor Lawrence. "We want to provide them the tools and technology that will get them home safely, but if they do come back with an injury it's wonderful to help them get back on their feet."
The program works to help veterans wounded in combat, either physically or emotionally, to move forward again.
For Davis Monthan Senior Master Sergeant Daniel Kester, the tranquility of the Grand Canyon was the perfect setting to clear his mind with fellow service members.
"You've got this beautiful environment and peace and quiet. I've brought absolutely no electronics with me. I've got no cell phone, I've got no music, I've got no headphones, I've got nothing, so all you can hear is the stuff in your head and work that out. Maybe you've been trying to avoid [it] and there's no avoiding it out here," Kester said.
During the program, the vets, like Carrie Ann Grayson, who is now a teacher in San Antonio, Texas, rely on one another for support and are committed to rediscovering their strengths while pushing through challenges.
"I hope this No Barriers Warriors program helps me overcome the anxiety that I have at not being able to control situations. Being in the river kinda put me face to face with my anxiety and there's no way out. There's no escape," Grayson said.
Through teamwork, camaraderie and the will to persevere, No Barriers is changing lives one veteran at a time.
Click here to learn more about No Barriers, and how you can contribute or nominate a veteran for an upcoming expedition.