The family and friends of Cpl. Daniel C. W. Riley, USMC, welcome you to join in as we celebrate and support the life of an incredible young man, friend, son, and brother. It is with great love and with many prayers we know that Daniel will move on to great and wonderful things. God has big plans for him! Daniel was born in Victoria, BC, Canada. In 1999 his family (Dad, Mum, brothers Tristan and Aaron, & sister Elizabeth, & cat) moved to Denver, Colorado, where his dad began working for the Episcopal Church in Colorado overseeing work with children, youth, and young adults. Daniel started high school in 1999 at Columbine High School. After three years at CHS he finished his high school at Brentwood College in Canada in 2004. After which he did some college and worked in the US and Canada. Daniel enlisted (still a Canadian citizen) in US Marine Corps in 2008 to serve his new country and to help pay for a future college education. On July 4, 2009 Daniel swore in as a US citizen before the Vice-President in Sadam Hussein's old palace in Bagdad, Iraq. In September 2010 he was sent as a combat replacement for the 2/6 Marines in Marjah, Afghanistan. On December 16, 2010, Daniel was severely wounded by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED). He primarily suffered severe wounds to his legs, left arm, and left lung. There were many times he was close to not making it. He has since had both legs amputated above the knee and three fingers amputated on his left hand. His lung and other injuries are healing well. Before this event and for many years to come, we know Daniel to be a loving, caring, intellegent, humourous, giving, adventurous, and deep thinking person. Keep praying! And use this blog to share your thoughts and encouragement.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Riley Family Relocating

Dear family and friends,

After a great deal of personal and family reflection (and prayer) Julia and I have discerned that the best thing for Daniel and our family is to relocate to the San Diego area.  This is not something we do lightly or without a measure of sadness.  We made a covenant (a promise) to our children when each were born; that we would do all that we can to support and encourage them - no matter what happens.  This relocation is part of living out the covenant we have made with our children.

We have made the decision for a number of reasons:

(1) Daniel will need support and encouragement for many months to come.  He is likely to be at the Naval Medical Center San Diego until the Summer of 2012.  We go primarily to be there for him.  In the near term he will need help driving him places and some assistance with daily living.  Longer term we will be available for occasional assistance and other encouragement as needed.

(2) We have also found that we have reached the end of our ability to function as a family and be separated.  This "family-via-long-distance thing" has grown old and hard to keep doing.  I have been the sole caregiver for five months without a break.  We want to share the honour of helping out our wounded warrior.

(3) We have also reached a point in our financial situation that demands a change.  I have been without pay since January (my employer, The Bishop and Episcopal Diocese of Colorado, has graciously allowed me unpaid leave until August 1st and has covered our medical insurance during that time). Due to an injury and subsequent surgery to Julia's Achilles tendon she has lost her job at Jefferson County School District working in a school cafeteria.  Up until now we have been able to hold off bankruptcy and due to the generosity of some of our creditors (especially US Bank and Chase/JP Morgan) we should continue to avoid filing.  But, we are now at a place where we cannot continue paying our mortgage. It would not feel right to us to keep living in the place and not paying our obligations.  We will be losing our home.  Therefore, we have put our house up for sale and hope that we get enough to cover the remaining mortgage or we will attempt a "short sale."  Please pray for a buyer! Quickly!

A few other notes:
  • I have communicated briefly with Bishop O'Neill that I will not be returning to my ministry with the people of the Diocese of Colorado and Cathedral Ridge.  After almost 12 years, this was a hard thing to do!   I will miss being part of the exciting future of Cathedral Ridge.
  • Daniel and I will be in Colorado until the Danielathlon (June 4th) and then over the next couple weeks we will get our belongings to San Diego and into storage.  We hope to be all there by Tristan's graduation from marine boot camp (June 16-17).
  • We will be having a BIG garage sale on June 10th and 11th.
  • Due to the gracious financial support of so many we have enough funds to cover the move via U-Haul, rent, and living expenses until the end of the summer. We want to give a special thank you to The Rev. Brooks Keith and the Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration, Vail, who have pulled together people and resources to assist Daniel and our family.  We are also very thankful for the support of our immediate and distant family members. In the meantime, Julia and I will both begin looking for work that helps us cover our expenses and also make sure we are available as needed for Daniel.
  • We have secured a one-bedroom apartment for Julia and I in the same complex as Daniel's new apartment.  Aaron will come with us for the summer and try and find work.  He will live with Daniel  during that time.  Aaron has been accepted, and hopes, to attend the University of Colorado, Boulder, in the Fall.
We really wish we could have told everyone personally.  Unfortunately, this is all moving fast (our house will be up on the market tomorrow) and we need to get things rolling.  We will truly miss living here in Colorado and the dear friends who we have been privileged to get to know over the past 12 years.  We do not know what the future holds.  We are just travelling the path that seems best to us and allows us to be faithful to what we believe is right for us. We rest in God's hands. We ask for your prayers.

in Christ,
Neil Riley


  1. I'll be praying for your family as you go through this transition. My nephew just got out of the hospital there in San Diego, and his wife and son are now able to live with him, but he has more surgeries and rehab ahead of him too.

  2. Wow! I know these decisions were difficult and yet simply obvious! A house is a house... the family in it makes it a home.... Sad to see you go, but all of this resonates with a deep truth and peace that San Diego is where God is clearly calling you! Praying you all to the beach!

    Thanks for everything! Blessings!

  3. A couple people have been wondering whether this move hinders Daniel gaining independence. It may seem weird, but it actually helps him be on his own. At the moment, and for a little while longer, Daniel will need assistance with daily living. I do not need to be there 24-hours a day, but, with only Daniel's apartment to stay in he suffers having me all the time. Having a place of our own nearby allows Daniel freedom and independence in his own place where he won't be tripping ;) over his father all the time. Yet, we will be close enough to help out as needed. Unless you are living with this situation every day it may not make sense. But, the move really gives Daniel, and Julia and I, more independence.

    - Neil

  4. This post made me cry and then happy and then cry again. I am so glad your family will be able to be together and I'm sure you will enjoy whatever adventure lies ahead of you in San Diego but it's always hard to have to leave a home too, especially in difficult situations. Please let me know if I can do anything to help in the next few weeks and after you leave. I'm happy to check in on the house and make sure it looks ready to sell as often as needed. Also, let me know if you have an online link to the listing. I am happy to pass along the listing. Someone always knows someone who is looking for a home!

    Hope to see you all this week or soon. Nick commented that the Danielathlon is now about Daniel and the whole family and will be a very fitting celebration and send off for the Rileys.

    Love, Caitlin

  5. My thoughts and prayers remain with you, Daniel, and your family. You are truly inspiring!

  6. Please post a link or MLS number. Both of my sisters in law are in real estate in the same area and will help get the word out about the house.

    Mary Kate Rejouis

  7. FYI - House listing
    MLS #1000259
    7613 W. Quarto Ave.
    Littleton, CO, 80128
    Agent: Doug Hauck

  8. Dear Neil,
    I pray for Daniel, you, and your family each week. I try to check in on the blog to help me know how to pray. I want to tell you how moved I am by your decision to relocate. A decision grounded in covenant love, as you say, is sure to bring rich blessings in each of your lives. I am so glad you will all be together in one place working as a family in support of Daniel's continued healing.

    I am grateful for all the ministry you have done in the Diocese of Colorado. We will all miss you very much.

    And...WOW...what a video of Daniel walking today--tell him WAY TO GO!!

    I will continue to pray for all that you named--all the practical next steps, in particular.

    I wish I could be at the park on June 4, but I am committed to work that will likely prevent me from coming.

    Know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.

    In Christ--
    Ruth Woodliff-Stanley

  9. Dear Daniel, Neil, Julia and all the Riley Family,

    Your love in your family shines through so brightly and is an inspiration to all of us. We can only imagine the difficulty of the decisions each step of the way, but know that your trust in our Lord graces each one of them. I will keep praying for you and your transition to San Diego, that all goes well, that jobs are found, that your new home embraces you as you have embraced all who come into your path.

    God's Peace,


  10. Dear Neil:

    I am so struck by the love, dedication, determination, and support that you are all giving Daniel ... and what an amazing young man he is ... God has MUCH good in store for him, I'm sure. I've just watched the video of Daniel walking again, and I'm in awe of him.

    Also, I've just read this post in your blog ... I'm saddened that you will be leaving us in Colorado, and under such trying circumstances. You have done amazing work at The Diocese, and will be leaving a great legacy. I pray that all things will come together for you all, to make the move as smooth as possible. May you continue to find signs of God's grace littered along the path you travel.

    I used to live in San Diego, and so I know that it well deserves it's name as "America's Finest City" ..may you all be richly blessed in all you do as you move forward ...and may you all enjoy this weekend together.

    Michelle A. Danson+

  11. Your whole family will remain in my thoughts and prayers. I have a church obligation Saturday, but I'm hoping I can stop by right at the beginning and then run to the church thing. If I don't make it, please tell Daniel he's been in my thoughts and prayers for months and will stay there for a long, long time to come.


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