Marine Saves Rescue Horses from Florence Fury
Swansboro resident Eric Walker is a proud Marine and veteran. He and his wife Shari chose to "shelter in place" during Hurricane Florence to save their 30 rescue horses and farm animals. The animals survived, their residence did not.
In the years following his retirement, Eric and Shari, became involved in a new battle, the war against PTSD for returning combat veterans. For 23 years, the Walkers have been fixtures in Swansboro, using their love of horses to help local veterans and their families. Their ranch, Little Boro Farm, is frequented by veterans, children with special needs and their families. In 2012, the Walkers registered their facility with national non-profit, Horses4Heroes and participated in Operation Free Ride, an initiative that gives free horseback rides to veterans and their families.
"Throughout my career in the Marines, we were constantly reminded to never leave a man behind," said Eric. "Our horses are our troops, our battle buddies, and we have a responsibility to them. They are the soldiers in the war against PTSD, they help veterans transition from warrior to civilian, soothe nerves, calm fears and build self esteem and self confidence."
Two years ago, the Walkers joined forces with Elizabeth Carr, founder of Francis Florence and Friends Equine Rescue, a non-profit 501 (c) (3) based in Greensboro. The rescue is located adjacent to the Walker's Little Boro Farm. The Walkers have opened up their farm to animals displaced by the storm.
"We have been using horses to rescue veterans for years," said Walker. "So it just made sense to use veterans to rescue horses. We have been proud to work with Elizabeth and support her mission to give at-risk horses a second chance, and grateful she supports our mission to use horses to help veterans and children with special needs."
According to Carr, many of the 30 horses that live at the rescue came from feed lots otherwise known as "kill pens."
The Walkers decision saved the lives of their horses, dogs, cats and a goat, but the storm destroyed their farm house when the roof collapsed. The Walkers and Carr are asking for the community's support to help feed the horses and fund the rebuilding of Little Boro Farm. Donations are accepted via PayPal, francisflorenceandfriends@
Thousands of residents in North Carolina are hurting and it will take weeks and months to fully assess the damage. The Walkers hope they can rebuild and get back to the business of rescuing horses and humans.
Little Boro Farm is an affiliate with Las Vegas-based national Horses4Heroes. The organization's large and growing national network of equestrian centers in 45 states and Canada offer affordable, sometimes free, recreational, instructional and health and wellness programs for all ages, all riding levels and in all disciplines. For more information on all programs and activities, email firstname.lastname@example.org, visit www.horses4heroes.org or call 702.645.8446.
The PR Group Sydney Knott