HURRICANE, Utah (ABC4) – A nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide support to the families of those who have been wounded, injured, or killed during combat operations brought joy to one family’s life Tuesday.
The Wounded Warriors Family Support High Five Tour 2020 was postponed due to COVID-19 but that did not stop the nonprofit from fulfilling its mission of more than a decade of giving.
The non-profit presented Caleb and Christina Dunham of Hurricane, Utah, with a 2021 Chevy Traverse mobility-equipped vehicle to help transport their 9-year-old son Calen Dunham, who suffers from three rare genetic abnormalities.
Caleb is retired from the U.S. Army, where officials say he served active duty from 2006-11. He was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan prior to a medical retirement.
“Calen was born early at 24 weeks,” Christina said. “Doctors initially told us he will be blind. He will be deaf. He will be a vegetable. He is none of those.”
Calen has however lost his ability to speak. The muscle weakness he experiences makes it hard for Calen to do daily tasks. The non-profit says he uses a Spirit Car Seat to sit up during rides in the family’s Chevy Tahoe that has an inconvenient 6-inch lift.
The Dunham’s also have a 4-year-old son Luke Dunham, who has been diagnosed with autism, anxiety, and a speech delay.
“We drive this because it has room for the double stroller for the boys, as Calen tires quickly and gets weak walking longer distances due to his medical condition,” Christina says. “A different vehicle will help us care for the kids and help me tremendously with the tax lifting has on my body and the mental worry that I won’t be able to lift my boys and get myself into the vehicle.”
Wounded Warriors Family Support CEO and President Kate McCauley says they had the Traverse delivered to the Dunham’s. The High Five Tour vehicle features a ramp.
The non-profit added that future modifications will be made to the Traverse as needed.
“The Dunham family has struggled with the COVID-19 pandemic. Therapies were cut, and school was shut down,” McCauley said. “Christina has been a doctor, caregiver, mother, and spouse without a break. The Dunham’s have never had a new vehicle. This gift will provide freedom, relief, and amazing experiences for a very deserving family.”
Wounded Warriors Family Support says they will hit the road again in 2021 for their annual High Five Tour.
During the tour, a mobility-equipped vehicle will travel throughout the country.
As part of the tour, Americans from all walks of life will have an opportunity to show their support for military families when they visit tour events and sign the vehicle with a message of support for our country’s veterans and their families.
You can learn more about the non-profit here.