Although The East Carolina Alumni Association’s Military Alumni Chapter just took root last year, the program strives to offer opportunities for the military community at East Carolina University.
“The Military Alumni Chapter is a community of alumni serving a variety of populations, including veterans who came to ECU after serving and graduates who entered the military after college, either through ROTC or independently,” according to the chapter’s website. “The MAC will stand to strengthen relationships within the military community through dialogue, advocacy, networking, mentoring and service.”
Most recently, the MAC has provided an opportunity for East Carolina University veterans to go on outdoor adventures with No Boundaries, a program designed to help combat wounded military veterans rehabilitate through outdoor activity.
No Boundaries was created thanks to the efforts of Molly and Mike Raymond, after Molly suffered a traumatic brain injury from a car crash. Molly Raymond dealt with a series of physical issues with a level of mental strength that became an inspiration to herself and others around her. She started the No Boundaries program to give military veterans the same opportunities for outdoor experiences that helped in her own recovery.
“When I went out to this place, basically it changed my life,” said Raymond. “I decided I wanted to let wounded soldiers experience what I had experienced out in Colorado with this program.”
No Boundaries is centered in Winter Park, Colorado in cooperation with the National Sport Center for the Disabled and is run solely on the donations of everyday people with 100 percent of the money going straight into the program. Veterans trips, including lodging and plane tickets, are paid in full due to this mind set of pure generosity.
“Out at the NSCD, there are no boundaries,” said Raymond. “In our program we don't use the word can't, everything is you can.”
The partnership between the MAC and No Boundaries came naturally thanks to some close ties within each of the programs administrations. Raymond’s daughter, Lindsay Weston-Raymond, acts as the assistant director of outreach for the East Carolina Alumni Association. She is pushing to have something of this nature available to the wounded veterans of the ECU community.
Both the MAC and No Boundaries share very similar missions and goals for helping members of the military community live their fullest life despite injuries or other setbacks. No Boundaries plans to leave two open seats on every trip just for Pirate veterans.
This is only the beginning for the MAC here at ECU. MAC hopes to have an annual tailgating event during the military appreciation football game already intact and the goal to develop more partnerships with No Boundaries or similar programs.