As the Christmas season grows deeper, we’re reminded of our Christian calling to show charity to others in need. Helping to take care of those that suffer proves our humility in the face of God. Even more impressive are the stories of those who suffer themselves and use that anguish as a reason to help others in the same predicament.
One veteran of the Marine Corps found a way to live with his own wounds by helping other wounded vets find a more peaceful life. Former Lance Corporal Lyndon Ortiz served as part of a Quick Reaction Force dedicated to rescuing other Marines who were injured in improvised explosive device (IED) blasts. On July 17, 2005, his regiment was itself hit by an IED, and Ortiz suffered injuries to his left shoulder and brain.
After recovering at Camp Lejeune and struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Ortiz decided to make something positive of his experiences. He volunteered for a Florida non-profit organization called Heavenly Hoofs, an equine-assisted therapy service that provides beneficial services to wounded individuals and veterans.
Heavenly Hoofs became a calling to Ortiz, as this ABC News report will show, and he quickly began to recruit many of his fellow veterans to help in the cause. For the CEO of Heavenly Hoofs, Thomasa Sanchez, this type of action is exactly what can help a veteran get past the pain of his injuries, both physical and psychological. “Veterans have a history of wanting to be on their couch and not getting out because it is difficult when they come back to civilian life,” Sanchez was quoted as saying in the ABC News article.
Veterans and others who have entered into the Heavenly Hoofs program have found a renewed sense of confidence and many physical benefits riding with the horses. For Ortiz, his work with horses has given him a sense of purpose once again, helping keep him from the dark clouds associated with PTSD.
Deer Creek Structures wants to extend a warm thank you to horse therapy services all over the world who use the power and beauty of our equine friends as a force for healing. This Christmas season, let’s try to remember those less fortunate and find new ways of helping others, and remember that it can also heal ourselves.