Bart Lesniewicz
Bart Lesniewicz

By Dan Roark

Sometimes an episode of a television show will start out with a scene that is actually the ending with the important parts missing. Then  “three hours (or whatever) earlier” flashes across the screen. Then the actual episode begins. So…..

New Hope, while all board members are very much appreciated, has a new board member that has been a long time in coming – although the person was unknown…

Sometime earlier….

Horses Helping Heroes is a program for veterans that has been in the works at New Hope. Rich Firmin, a veteran and the demonstrative beginning of the program, has not only been a stalwart volunteer, but his son, Richie, is a rider at New Hope. The pictures on the Horses Helping Heroes tab on the New Hope website are of Rich. With all of the business of managing an equine assisted therapy center, including a herd of horses (and a mule), expansion of the program was preempted by other urgent projects and emergencies.

Then Tonya Andrews, a medically retired disabled Air Force veteran, came to New Hope last year. Her progress has been phenomenal. Read the previous post about her here. She helped to ratchet up the importance  of the Horses Helping Heroes program. Tonya has done so well, with work at New Hope and with her physical therapist, that she is competing in the Wheelchair Games in New Orleans at the end of July.

For that reason, while I was making a list of upcoming posts for the blog (one of which will be the story of Tonya’s journey to the Wheelchair Games), I thought about talking to Sharla and Dave about beginning to publicize the Horses Helping Heroes program for the Fall.

Now we come to the scene that you think is deja vu until you realize it’s the scene you saw at the beginning of the episode and they’re adding the missing parts…

Then, of all times, I get the New Hope email newsletter from Kathleen saying that Bart Lesniewicz, a retired United States Marine Officer, is joining our board to Chair the development of our veteran’s program. So you see why I say it was a long time in coming? But now the person is known.

Please join us in welcoming Bart to the board. You can read more about Bart on the team page of the website. We look forward to exciting things happening with the Horses Helping Heroes program.

Ride on and ride for hope

Donate to New Hope.

Venmo – @NewHopeEquineAssistedTherapy

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