NEWARK – A foundation created through a national hardware store chain helped a local nonprofit therapeutic equine organization that helps military veterans improve its facility just in time for Veteran's Day this year.
More than 40 volunteers from Home Depot helped build fencing for a three-acre plot of land on the property of Equine Dreams, a nonprofit organization that provides therapeutic equine assisted activities to military veterans and people with special needs, on Friday, Nov. 9. The Home Depot Foundation also gave a $15,000 grant for the nonprofit to purchase the materials used to build the fence.
According to a news release for the event and program representatives, Equine Dreams helps more than 30 veterans and their families every year who are living with stress disorders, impaired motor skills and other conditions.
Windy Kopecky, board member and head instructor for Equine Dreams, said working with the horses helps lower stress and anxiety for the veterans. She said it also helps decrease the severity of their post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, symptoms and helps veterans to improve their overall quality of life.
Kopecky said the facility is unique to the area because it's free for patrons to use and has been so for more than 20 years. She said the center relies completely on donations and grants to keep operations going and the newly enclosed space will help allow for a better therapy experience for the program's riders.
“Assistance like this is priceless to us,” Kopecky said.
The project is part of The Home Depot Foundation’s ninth annual Celebration of Service season to improve the homes and lives of U.S. military veterans and aid communities affected by natural disasters.
Home Depot spokeswoman Laura Denges said the point of the annual outreach program is to help inspire veterans and help better their life and support them in times of need.
“It’s something that Home Depot is really proud of,” Denges said.