The H3 Story
I am asked why Horses? And why Wounded Warriors?
First let me tell you a little about myself and growing up as a kid. I was a middle child of six children. My father was career Navy and retired after 22 years as a Chief. He was a submariner in WWII and I believe suffered from what they called back then “shell shock” or “battle fatigue”. Nowadays we call it post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and I have seen and lived with those suffering from this condition.
Many years later I recognized some of those same symptoms in a friend of mine who had returned home from the Gulf War and was suffering from PTSD. He was living with anger, fear, anxiety, stress and having flashbacks of what he saw in the war.
I offered my help, my farm, and my horses as a way to heal. There were times he would just sit with them, not talking, but communicating nonetheless, and he would feel peace. During that time he stopped self-harming and his drinking lessened. He was regaining a foothold on his life.
Several years ago while attending a seminar for veterans suffering from PTSD, traumatic brain injury (TBI), and military sexual trauma (MST), I recognized these same symptoms. They showed a soldier from the Iraq war and how he was suffering from PTSD. I realized that my father, my friend and this young soldier all suffered from the same symptoms. These warriors were alone and bound in their isolation. I realized the powerful healing my horses had on my friend, and through having access to them he was able to find an unconditional acceptance that invited him back into the fellowship of life.
With the encouragement from my uncle, Ed Dauksz, Maj., USMC, ret, who is a board member of H3, a highly decorated Vietnam veteran, and a recipient of the "Night of Heroes” award, I started Hope Horses N Heroes (H3) formerly known as H3-Horses Healing Heroes.
Our vision is that every veteran or active military will have access to our services, to help them regain their emotional strength and confidence. Research shows that holding negative emotions for a long period of time can cause stress and anxiety and turn into depression. Horses can help alleviate anxiety and build confidence for dealing with problems.
We are in the process of building cabins on our 50 acres so our warriors can come out and camp for a few days in the country. They can work with the horses and find a place to decompress and relax. We are also in our infancy with our Organic Therapy Program gardens, which offers both a psychological benefit as well as a physical way to supply fresh food.