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Nonprofit provides rehabilitation, nurturing for veterans
by Nneka Okona
December 05, 2012 01:51 PM | 1418 views | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff / Katherine Frye <br>
Sara Carter, owner of Haven’s Heroes, with Buddy Bear, one of the main horses used in therapy.
Staff / Katherine Frye
Sara Carter, owner of Haven’s Heroes, with Buddy Bear, one of the main horses used in therapy.
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Sara Carter loves horses.

She loves the beauty of them, riding them as thin wisps of air glide past her face and their serenity.

Her love of all things equestrian inspired a nonprofit dedicated to healing and rejuvenation using horses — Haven Hills Therapeutic Riding Center.

The center recently started a new program, geared specifically for veterans called Haven’s Heroes.

“We wanted to do a veteran’s program,” Carter said. “My dad, brother and husband are veterans. I wanted to give back because what I am able to do is because of what they gave up.”

Her goal was to provide a safe haven for veterans to participate in “equine assisted activities and therapies for veterans and active duty military with injuries and disabilities.”

“It’s not just the riding,” Carter said. “They come as volunteers. They help other service men and women get over fears, societal issues and substance abuse.”

Currently, the program — encompassing everything from burn victims and amputees to mental health services — has seven participants.

Carter said it has been a struggle both recruiting and attracting veterans and active duty military.

“The hardest thing is to get them out here,” she said. “They know they want help but they don’t want to admit it.”

Benefits of the program that Carter outlined, including lower suicide rates and veterans ready to integrate back into society, are proof that their philosophy does indeed work.

Wendi Newtown, an Air Force veteran and volunteer can attest to it.

“I’ve only been involved for about a month,” she said. “They have such a wonderful philosophy and program. It’s really a phenomenal thing.”

The beauty Carter sees in horses is what she hopes will draw the additional 20 veterans she wants to join the program.

“They are such noble beings,” she said. “They live in the now. They don’t take past aggressions out on each other. They have their own community. I can take a chair out and sit in the pasture.”

Haven Hills is at 7580 Rivertown Road in Fairburn.

Information: (678) 288-7870 or www.havenhillstrc.org.

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