Our Story: From September 7th - 12th, 2020, Operation Canyon Rising will take a group of Disabled Veterans and Gold Star family members on a motivational rim-to-rim five day hike through the Grand Canyon to aid in their rehabilitation process. The hike will signify the journey of life before injury or illness, the realization of the new disability and finish with the vision of overcoming limitations and gaining hope for the future ahead.
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The Purpose of the Hike: Recognizing that sustaining a disabling injury or illness, or losing a loved one is an emotional roller coaster, it seems appropriate to tie the roller coaster of recovery into the analogy of a rim-to-rim Grand Canyon hike. Starting from the North rim is symbolic of how life was before the injury or illness. Then by hiking down into the floor of the canyon, the depths of the realization of the permanent realities of the new disability and the monumental recovery ahead are reached. Finally, climbing out of the canyon on the South rim gives the analogy of rising to meet this life-long challenge, learning to overcome limitations and gaining hope for both yourself and others.
This demanding rim-to-rim hike will serve as an incentive to continue to push and challenge each individual. By the conclusion of the hike, we hope each hiker realizes the following:
1. How far they have come
2. How they can achieve great milestones if they work hard at it
3. They will be motivated to help others and prove inspiration to both disabled and able-bodied people through their accomplishments
4. Finally, as each participant looks at and hikes into the enormity of the Grand Canyon, they will realize that if you break down the task ahead, and take it one step at a time, you can have hope. And with the glimmer of hope you can accomplish great things!
The team will consist of 15 hikers, hiking alongside each other. The team will consist of 10 disabled hikers and 5 abled-body hikers. The organizers are Lt. Col. (Ret) Steve Connolly and Corporal Steve Martin, U.S. Army, Retired. So far the team also consists of Mark Heniser, team physical therapist, Brian Miller, team therapist, Tammy Heniser, U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force veteran
, LCpl (Ret) Tim Horton, Sgt (Ret) Matt Melancon, Sgt (Ret) Juan Arredondo, SSgt (Ret) Mike Malarsie, SSG (Ret) Pete Quintanilla, SSG (Ret) Frank Wasson, Sgt (Ret) Mike Owens, Nicole Roundy and R.B. Helterbrand. Bevan Bell will be the team’s photographer and videographer
About the Hike:
The Frese Family, in memory of Lt. Col Hank Frese, USMC, will sponsor one veteran for the hike.
From our BBQ Cook-Off fundraiser. The Keller Lion’s Club wishes the Canyon Riser’s great success in their expedition.
Gulf Alliance Company - A Perot Company
Tom Halley - A Vietnam THUD driver once again helping out his fellow servicemen.
Operation Canyon Rising would like to thank the Tucson Retired Officer's Spouses Club for their kind donation and for their many years of service to our country as spouses of veterans.
About Warfighter Sports:
Warfighter Sports, a program of Disabled Sports USA, offers sports rehabilitation for wounded warriors with permanent physical disabilities in military hospitals and communities across the U.S. in partnership with a nationwide network of over 118 community-based chapters. Contributions cover all expenses for participation of the warrior and a family member, including individualized adaptive instruction, adaptive sports equipment, transportation, lodging and meals.
Since 1967, Disabled Sports USA has proudly served wounded warriors, including those injured in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, offering over 40 winter and summer sports at more than 100 events each year. Warfighter Sports rebuilds lives through sports by improving self-confidence, promoting independence and uniting families through shared healthy activities.
Since 2003, more than 9,000 of the most severely wounded and their families have been served, including those with amputations, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, visual impairments, and significant nerve and muscle damage. For more information, visit http://www.warfightersports.org/