A second $10,000 donation in a year's time from Grammy Award-nominated Mississippi rock band 3 Doors Down's Better Life Foundation will continue to benefit MTSU students and faculty working in equine therapy with veterans from the Murfreesboro-based Veterans Recovery Center.
The money is earmarked for an outdoor training area and meeting space needed for the program, which began in 2013. The band's foundation also gave a $10,000 donation in 2017.
The Center of Equine Recovery for Veterans, or CERV program, is a partnership between the Veterans Recovery Center, a psychosocial rehabilitation center, and MTSU Horse Science.
CERV offers VRC veterans an opportunity to ride and benefit from interacting with horses while MTSU students gain valuable experience in helping facilitate the sessions.
"We are so grateful for another donation," said Andrea Rego, an MTSU Horse Science instructor. "We hope to build a fantastic permanent outdoor trail obstacle course, along with a meeting area for goal sessions. We believe this will enhance the veterans' time at horse science and allow for more challenging obstacles for them to overcome."
Rego said one of the veterans told her he was "in my own little bubble that I couldn't get out of. This (therapy) has rocked my world and I can't thank everyone enough."
Along with veterans in the program, among those attending the recent donation luncheon at the MTSU Foundation House were 3 Doors Down singer Brad Arnold; his wife, Jen Arnold, a noted barrel race competitor; Brian McSpadden, recreation therapist with the Tennessee Valley Healthcare System's Alvin C. York campus; and MTSU horse science faculty memberHolly Spooner, Rhonda Hoffman, Ariel Herron and Rego.
The gathering also included MTSU graduate students and Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies class students.
MTSU has more than 240 combined undergraduate and graduate programs.