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Horse farm joins program serving veterans

Nov. 02, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

MILTON -- River Cities Therapy and Recreation Center, Inc. in Milton, W.Va., has joined the nationwide program "Horses for Heroes, Inc."

The program's mission is to make horseback riding affordable for, and accessible to, military veterans and their families.

River Cities Therapy and Recreation Center, Inc., is a tax-exempt organization located at Golden Aire Farm in Milton, whose mission is to provide equine facilitated activities and therapy to children and adults with disabilities or disabling conditions, whether physical, social, emotional or mental.

Connie S. Boggess, executive director of RCTRC, said she is excited to be approved for Horses for Heroes because it has always been her organization's mission to develop confidence and independence in program participants through equine therapy.

Heroes for Horses is designed to give America's war veterans as well as all service men and women (firemen, police, ambulance, etc.) an opportunity to heal through experiencing some of the joys of nature in a setting of beauty and peacefulness, according to a news release.

"Many professionals in the equine field have long asserted that horses tend to mirror or reflect the human emotional experience, and claim that horses are effective partners for facilitating human healing and achieving higher levels of personal growth and leadership development," the news release stated.

"The Horses for Heroes, Inc. program was created to give active duty military personnel, service men and women, police, firemen, returning combat veterans, wounded warriors and their families the opportunity to ride a horse for free! We want them to ride a horse and experience the special bond and friendship of horses," Boggess said. "We are pleased to be able to offer this program to our local veterans, service men/women and their families as our way of saying thank you for their service to our country."

RCTRC is a non-profit facility dependent upon volunteers, grants, fundraisers and contributions. Boggess said she is especially grateful to these sponsors:

Fisher & Gilkeson Insurance, Inc., Boggess Trucking, Inc., Tractor Supply in Wayne - Linda Ragalli Manager, Capitol, City Biker's Bash, Patriot Pride Motorcycle Riding Club, Big Country Farrier Service - Ronnie Bowman, Patriot's Pride Motorcycle Riding Club, the Covered Bridge Antique Auto Club, the Nitro Antique Auto Club, the Nitro Antique Mall, the Kanawha Salines Society Children of the American Revolution and the Kanawha Valley Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution.

"The cost, including insurance, veterinary bills, feed and etc., to run our program is expensive so we are grateful for all donations whether it be a donation of time, feed, hay, saw dust for the stalls or money is greatly appreciated, " Boggess said.

Veterans and their families interested in participating in RCTRC'S Horses for Heroes program should call Boggess at 304-743-5267 or 304-634-1845, or visit RCTRC at 2216 Newman Branch Road, Milton, from 2-4:30 p.m. on Veterans Day, Nov. 11. For directions and more information about River Cities Recreation and Therapy Center, Inc. visit their website at http://rctrc.org.