About Us

Our Story

We’re MOVING FORWARD! is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization (ID# 47-2199053) founded by three women whose own lives were dramatically impacted by a traumatic brain injury of a family member.  Ronda Alcorn, Linda Countryman, and Tara Pepiton all have sons who were the unfortunate victims of such an injury. Since 2009 we have been organizing social events and activities ranging from a simple trip to the movies to a three-day adventure out of town.  In October of 2014, we formally became a nonprofit to continue offering this very important avenue for growth, allow us to reach more families and provide a wider range of group activities.  The organization is structured in such a way as to try to involve the entire group in the planning, funding, and execution of activities and events, further providing the stepping stones for our participants to initiate and become involved in the rebuilding of their own social lives while fostering new and ongoing personal relationships. Donations and fundraising proceeds to We’re MOVING FORWARD! go toward group activities and events and the costs associated with them.  We are an all-volunteer organization.  Our overhead is limited to expenses incurred by maintaining the organizations infrastructure as there are no salaries to be drawn and no profit to be made by anyone involved in the management or operation of We’re MOVING FORWARD!

IMAGINE…

…one day you’re living a normal, active life, full of friends and social activities—living and loving life to its fullest and the next, you’re waking up in a hospital bed unable to remember what you just had for breakfast, learning that you are unable to walk or talk or even feed yourself. Over the next several months you will have to work very hard, through all the pain, to regain at least some of what you once took for granted would always be there. You find yourself wondering how it was even possible to have lost it all in the first place. Months and years may pass before even the simplest things become second nature again (if ever). Your friends have slowly moved on with their lives while your days are spent in hospitals and rehabilitation facilities. You and your family become more and more isolated as you struggle to redefine your lives following a brain injury.

You may be a young adult just getting started in life, looking forward to striking out on your own, or you may be an older adult with a family and a career that you worked very hard for. But now, because of your physical, cognitive, or emotional limitations, you can no longer attend regular classes at college or maintain your focus to continue on with your job. You are no longer able to drive a car and may need assistance when leaving the confines of your own home because your memory, vision, or physical ability makes venturing out on your own a safety issue. So, most of your days are now spent at home alone or, if you’re lucky, in the company of a family member who has become your primary caregiver, supporter, and friend. This is often the new life of a brain injury survivor—but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Since the onset of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, there have been great advances made in the treatment of traumatic and acquired brain injury, however, social reintegration is one of the most overlooked and underfunded areas of recovery. Following such a traumatic event and long recovery, many survivors and their families are also left with overwhelming medical costs and financial hardships that result from taking so much time away from their jobs. And while some survivors may eventually be able to return to work in a more limited capacity, many remain unemployable due to their disability. As a consequence, they find themselves unable to include social activities as an important part of their ongoing recovery. That’s where we come in.

We’re MOVING FORWARD! was formally established as a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization as a means to facilitate and fund social events and activities for brain injury survivors and their immediate family members.

Your generous donations allow us to offset these costs and continue offering this very important avenue for growth in a way that will allow us to reach more families and provide a wider range of group activities. Money raised through donations and other fundraising efforts go directly toward the funding of group events and activities and their associated costs. Our overhead is limited only to those expenses necessary to maintain the organizations infrastructure as there are no salaries to be drawn and no profit to be made by anyone involved in the management or operation of We’re MOVING FORWARD!

Thank you! Your support and generous donation is greatly appreciated!

As always, we encourage and welcome anyone whose life has been affected by brain injury and find themselves in similar circumstances to contact us and get involved!

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BOARD of DIRECTORS

Ronda J. Alcorn

Ronda J. Alcorn

President

Ronda is a Co-Founder of We’re MOVING FORWARD!  Her son Austin suffered a traumatic brain injury in 2006 from a roll over car accident caused from falling asleep at the wheel.  Ronda is a former Board Member of the Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona.

Tara L. Pepiton

Tara L. Pepiton

Treasurer

Tara is a Co-Founder of We’re MOVING FORWARD! and caregiver to her son Adam who suffered a traumatic brain injury from being shot in the head during a drive by shooting in 2010.  Tara also serves on the Governor’s council for Spinal Cord and Head Injuries.

Justin Larson

Justin Larson

Secretary

Justin is a Financial Solutions Advisor at Bank of America.  Justin’s wife Sandra suffered a stroke in 2005.

Chey Tor

Chey Tor

Chey Tor is a real estate professional with RE/MAX Omni Consultants and Property Management.  He has more than 10 years’ experience in sales and marketing.

Lauren A. Bostick, Esq.

Lauren A. Bostick, Esq.

Lauren is an attorney with Rachel Frazier Johnson, practicing in Divorce, Child Custody, Spousal Maintenance, Child Support, Adoption, Estate Planning (Wills and Trusts), Personal Injury, Contracts, and Business Law.

Katy Kutnyak

Katy Kutnyak

Katy is a Financial Advisor with Renaissance Financial where she develops customized financial strategies that fit each unique individual, capitalizing on the collaborative environment of the firm to help others succeed. She specializes in special needs, retirement, and business planning strategies.

Michelle M. Lauer, Esq.

Michelle M. Lauer, Esq.

Michelle is an elder law attorney who practices in the areas of probate & trust administration, guardianship & conservatorship proceedings, and estate & long-term care planning.

SURVIVOR SOCIAL COMMITTEE

The 2020 Survivor Social Committee  was randomly selected from names submitted during our Masquerade Ball themed dinner and dance this past December.  These survivors consider ideas and suggestions from their peers and meet to help plan and organize additional “Pop Up” activities for 2020, and plan activities and events for 2021 including the theme for our Annual Dinner and Dance in December. 

Adam Pepiton

Austin Alcorn

Evie Williams

Katie Griffith

Nick Ruppert

FEATURED VOLUNTEER

If you have not already met Kathy Fulton, you are probably new to We’re  MOVING FORWARD!  Kathy, her husband Bill, and their son Daniel have been participating long before we became a nonprofit organization.


No matter where Kathy goes, she constantly keeps an eye out for people that might have some sort of brain injury and has no issues with going up and introducing herself and checking to make sure they are connected to valuable resources, including WMF.

Kathy is always one of the first ones to ask and make sure we have enough help at our events and has worked hard over the years to help make our Annual Social Bowl fundraising event to be a success by helping to get bowling teams signed up, obtaining items for our silent auction and raffle and helping to get donations.

Along with volunteering for WMF, Kathy also helps many other organizations by volunteering and donating to them as well, including her handmade PeeWee TeePee’s.

She also loves to ski and is looking forward to traveling and spending time in their new motorhome.

We are very grateful for all the love, care attention and time that Kathy has put into our organization.  Volunteers like her are a rare find indeed and very much needed to help our all-volunteer organization succeed.

From Kathy

Like most of us who volunteer with We’re Moving Forward, my involvement can be traced back to a life-changing event of a loved one. For me it was a phone call in December 2009. My son Daniel, who was living in Telluride, had been in a snowboarding accident. We did not know much, except that he was alive and being airlifted to a hospital in Grand Junction.

I first remember going to a movie with a very small group of people. At the time, there was no foundation, no group name, just a bunch of us sharing our experiences and watching our boys start new friendships. As someone who has always enjoyed helping to make a difference in people’s lives, it did not take long for me to realize this group was special. We’re Moving Forward helped us all recognize that we were not alone in our new normal – and that there was nothing wrong with it.

I have met wonderful people through my time working with WMF. Ronda, Linda, and Tara have all worked so hard in making the foundation what it is today. I enjoy helping whenever I can – whether raising money or helping with fun events like the Social Bowl and golf tournaments. When I think back on all the friends, I have made through WMF, the loving caregivers I have been fortunate to watch and learn from, it is truly remarkable. (As is Linda Countryman’s photography!) It is the personal connections with the other survivors and their loved ones that have made my decision to spend my time with WMF an easy one. In some ways, I feel destined to help this group, as I had my own brain issues nearly 30 years ago. I was diagnosed with a brain tumor and had it removed, only to have it come back a year after Daniel’s accident.

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