Family of SD Gunner Fund’s founder visiting National Parks to spread nonprofit’s message

Updated: Jun. 14, 2021 at 12:37 PM EDT
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RICHMOND HILL, Ga. (WTOC) - A local education and advocacy group is taking its message across the country this summer. The founder and president of SD Gunner Fund loaded up her family and set off on a journey to promote the healing powers of nature, one National Park at a time.

Britnee Kinard is on a “journey with a purpose” this summer.

“We are about 2358 miles into the trip, so it’s been a little crazy,” she said.

The journey will take Kinard and her family coast to coast, through some of the country’s greatest parks. The purpose is to share the SD Gunner Fund message at each stop along the way.

“One of the major factors we’re talking about is how to vacation with your service animal, where you can go, how to make that accessible, cause obviously we’re known for service animals, and at the same time talking about outdoor recreational therapy, which has played a huge factor into my family’s life, as well as a lot of the veterans and first responders that we serve,” said Kinard.

Kinard has seen the benefits of service animals through her husband Hamilton after he suffered a traumatic brain injury during Operation Iraqi Freedom, and her 10-year-old son Blayne who was diagnosed with autism.

“Nature has a way of providing that healing aspect for them, and they can get outdoors with their service animal, or with their family members and have a healing aspect of that,” said Kinard.

When we caught up with Kinard earlier this month, the family was making its way west through Colorado, with experiences hiking canyons and sliding down sand dunes already behind them.

“Most people will see the pictures and they’ll think oh my gosh, that’s awesome. What they don’t see is the total meltdown we had, because we didn’t like the texture of the sand. We were scared of the height,” said Kinard. “There was so much that went into it, so by the time my son actually went down the hill, we had processed all of those sensory feelings. And he actually overcame those and those are the type of things that we’re going to be talking about along this trip as well as sharing our message with a lot of the companies that have jumped on board to help and support us.”

For more information about SD Gunner Fund, click here.

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