“Wounded veteran helps other vets heal.”
Mike was severely injured while deployed overseas. In fact, the Army accidentally notified his wife he was dead! When he made his way back to the states and was well enough to be released from the hospital, he was transferred to the Warrior Transition Unit at Joint Base Lewis McChord in Washington state. Soldiers who have an expected recovery time of 6 months or more are assigned to these units until they are either well enough to go back to active duty or transition out of the military. The goal for Mike was to get back to active duty so he could return to his guys and make sure they got home safely. Unfortunately, his injuries prevented him from being physically able to go back to active duty. During his transition, Mike began taking therapeutic horsemanship lessons at Rainier Therapeutic Riding. He found a peace among these majestic animals he had not experienced before. The barn became Mike's sanctuary and he began spending more and more time there. He became a volunteer and started handling the horses as a leader and helping other vets learn to ride. Mike is now a competent horseman and is well on his way to getting certified as a therapeutic riding instructor through PATH (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship) Intl. He spends countless hours at the barn feeding, exercising and training the horses so they are ready to help his fellow soldiers recover from the physical, mental and emotional wounds of war.