Raytheon Employees Walk for the Warriors in Tucson
While the Raytheon-sponsored No Barriers Grand Canyon Wilderness Expedition team continued their journey, supporters gathered at Old Tucson Studios on Oct. 17 to walk in their honor at a hike that raised over $8,000 for wounded warriors.
More than 120 Raytheon employees, their families and community members gathered in support of the cause on a rainy Saturday morning.
“Across the nation, supporters of No Barriers Wounded Warriors have walked 16,000 miles and raised more than $20,000 for wounded veterans through this initiative,” said Cindy Bean, chief development officer of No Barriers.
Among the participants at the local hike was John Freeman, a team member on last year’s Raytheon-sponsored No Barriers Rocky Mountain Expedition in Colorado.
Freeman was the keynote speaker at a barbecue lunch hosted by the company after the walk. He told supporters how the program helped him to live a No Barriers life again after returning to school at Arizona State University (ASU) in Phoenix.
A new veteran of the U.S. Army, Freeman quickly realized he was ill-prepared for his return to civilian life. Social pressures were compounded by his decision not to take prescribed medication from the Veteran’s Health Administration.
Freeman was getting bad grades and was on the verge of dropping out of school when he signed up for the Raytheon-No Barriers expedition in Colorado.
“I had experience with Raytheon because I fired some of their munitions in Afghanistan, so I knew they were a great supporter,” he said. “By the way, thank you [Raytheon]!”
The trek allowed Freeman to spend five days away from his situation with a wide range of veterans who all shared a common bond. They were wounded and scarred.
“I got to be my old self again,” he said. “And when I came back, I realized, ‘You can do this; you can turn everything around.’”
After the expedition, Freeman resumed his education at ASU and graduated with a degree in business communications and political science. The one-time socially challenged young man returned to his first passion, selling cars, and he’s since taken a job as a finance manager at a car dealership.
“This organization [No Barriers] and sponsorships from companies like Raytheon have helped me — have changed my life, have gotten me back on track,” Freeman said. “Every day, I hit the ground and I think, ‘Man, I’m ready to go into work. I’m ready to do this.’”