Grant Recipient SPOTLIGHT: Operation Canyon Rising

Operation Canyon Rising is an expedition for disabled veterans to hike the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim as motivation to aid in their rehabilitation and provide them with a monumental goal that, once achieved, gives them incentive to lead a fulfilling life.

Starting from the North rim is symbolic of how life was before their injury or illness. Then by hiking down 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 UP” to meet their life-long challenge, learning to overcome limitations and gaining hope for both the veteran and others they are closely associated with.

Tee It Up for the Troops sponsorship of this expedition helped six individuals make this rim to rim journey including two below the knee amputees, one above the knee amputee, one arm amputee, one Gold Star widow and one Gold Star sister.

Founder Steve Connolly, Lt. Col. (Ret) USAF Reserves, had this to say: “This was probably the most impactful expedition I have done so far! I cannot thank you enough, yet again, for your support. The combination of the disabled veterans with the Gold Star family members was unbelievable. As we got to the bottom of the canyon and they opened up about their lows in life, each member of the team found a way to connect with others on the team. They formed beautiful bonds and really helped to heal each other. Many were suicidal and in talking with each other, they saw different points of views, common grounds of hurt and reasons to go on in life. Our motto of RISE UP on September 11th was taken to heart and they all left this journey with a purpose in life and a path forward. I just want you to know that you truly made a difference in their lives, and in sponsoring this expedition, you showed them that people out there really do care about them and that means a lot!”

On September 11, 2018, as the group hiked out of the canyon, their motto of “RISE UP” to face life’s challenges was taken to heart as they all left this journey with a purpose in life and a path forward… just as our country did after the terrorist attacks 17 years ago on that same date.

If you would like to read the bios of these brave participants or learn more about Operation Canyon Rising, click here.

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