I have had the distinct pleasure to serve on the "Gene Team" every Wednesday at Hearts Therapeutic Adaptive Riding Center. Gene rides in the Horses to Heroes group and accompanies two WWII Veterans, Brad and Chris. Just like these veterans, her strength is something to be admired.
Each Wednesday, I remind Gene how strong she is and how much her strength inspires me. Without fail she responds with "good!" or "I don't feel very strong". To which I reply, "Gene, you are on a horse! That takes STRENGTH!!" This amazing woman is in a wheelchair with severely diminished physical mobility. While she requires a team of volunteers to mount, dismount, and support her during rides, she successfully and confidently rides Buddy with a commanding presence.
Gene and her late husband have been long time supporters of Hearts and dedicated equestrians for many years. Now, years later and still just as devoted, Gene benefits from this program through its physical therapy and companionship with her Fine Equine, Buddy.
I began volunteering with Hearts as a way for Bardsley to give back to our local community. While it is our social responsibility to give back, I must admit that I had been searching for a means to participate in Equine Therapy for Veterans for several years. The culmination of horses and veterans was a perfect melody of my two very near and dear passions. Last year Hannah and I decided that Bardsley Products was missing something that made us whole as a company. Light bulb.... Hearts volunteer orientation, here I come!
Long story short and almost a year later, I have come to realize that Hearts not only was that missing piece for Bardsley Products, but for myself as well. I feel tremendous gratitude for the life experience this opportunity has taught me. To all the horses, riders, veterans, volunteers, staff, and devoted supporters of Hearts Therapeutic Adaptive Riding Center; CHEERS! You embody the compassion and love this world thrives on and I thank you.
Bardsley Products, Inc.
|The Gene Team, from left to right, Devon, Gene, Buddy, Anne, C.J.|
|Gene and her companion Buddy bonding over post-ride treats, with the help of volunteer, C.J.|