Tragedy defined this family’s mission to help wounded veterans

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(Photo courtesy No Boundaries)

By Caitlin M. Kenney

In 2004 Molly Raymond, a neonatal intensive care nurse and daughter of a retired U.S. Air Force fighter pilot, suffered a traumatic brain injury in a serious car crash.

Her husband Michael, a retired chief warrant officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, said that while she was recovering, they discovered the National Sports Center for the Disabled (NSCD) in Winter Park, Colorado. The center  says it’s “one of the largest outdoor therapeutic recreation and adaptive sports agencies in the world.”

In the past, the family used to take ski vacations, but Molly’s injuries had affected her balance and ability to ski.

He signed his wife up for the program at the sports center, teaching her adaptive skiing skills, and it was a life changing experience for her.

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(Photo courtesy No Boundaries)

From that moment in 2013, Molly knew she wanted to bring combat wounded veterans to the NSCD so they could also experience the same benefits that she and her family had as she recovered some of her capabilities, Mike said.

“No Boundaries,” a non-profit, conducts two free trips a year for veterans to the NSCD. Over the period of six days, 10 veterans tackle activities such as rafting, zip lining, fly fishing, skiing and snowmobiling. During the trip the participants live under one roof, which offers them the opportunity to have camaraderie with others who have similar life circumstances.

“On each of these trips, what we’re trying to do is to really promote self-esteem and pride and a sense of accomplishment for the combat wounded men and women,” he said.

Their program allows veterans to have a sense of independence and to overcome some of the challenges they face in their lives through adaptive athletic sports.

“In each case, we’re challenging them and they’re doing things,” Mike said. “And these veterans get so excited about knowing that not only are they capable but they excel at a lot of these outdoor adaptive sports activities.”

These veterans have also had an impact on the Raymonds and have become part of their family.

“My wife likes to say that while she only has two girls, she has a hundred sons,” Mike said.

They want to eventually expand the number of trips every year and also potentially bring the families of the veterans along.

A severe and life changing injury was the reason behind the development of “No Boundaries.” But Molly’s new journey has come to help others whose lives were changed because of combat.

“From a personal standpoint, to see the pride and to see my wife see that there was some reason behind her own disability and accident,” Mike said, “that something so good came out of it, gives us a lot of satisfaction and pride.”

If you’re interested in applying for a trip, or donating to the cause, contact No Boundaries.

Connect: @CaitlinMKenney | Caitlin@ConnectingVets.com

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