Foundation donates $10K to MTSU’s ‘CERV’ program f...

Foundation donates $10K to MTSU’s ‘CERV’ program for veterans

A $10,000 donation from Grammy Award-nominated Mississippi rock band 3 Doors Down’s foundation will benefit MTSU students and faculty working in equine therapy with veterans from the Murfreesboro-based Veterans Recovery Center.

Along with his wife, Jen Arnold, an award-winning barrel race competitor herself, 3 Doors Down singer Brad Arnold and the band’s Better Life Foundation made the gift Tuesday, June 13, at the university’s Horse Science Center facilities on West Thompson Lane.

MTSU Horse Science Director Rhonda Hoffman, left, accepts a $10,000 check for the Center of Equine Recovery for Veterans June 13 from 3 Doors Down lead singer Brad Arnold and the group’s Better Life Foundation. Viewing the presentation are MTSU sophomore Caroline Blackstone, next to therapy horse Jay R of Atlanta, Ga.; program director Andrea Rego; and band member and MTSU recording industry alumnus Chet Roberts. (MTSU photos by Randy Weiler)

Brad Arnold presented the check for the Center of Equine Recovery for Veterans, or CERV program, to MTSU’s Andrea Rego and Rhonda Hoffman, director of the horse science program. Rego oversees CERV, coordinating student involvement that has reached a ninth regular session and second advanced session working with veterans.

The money is earmarked for horse care and equipment needed for the program, which began in 2013.

“We are extremely grateful for the donation,” Rego said.

Brad Arnold said he is keenly aware “the value of horses has added to my life, and I think there’s a lot to be learned from equine therapy and proud to be a part of this program to share that therapy with other people.”

The Center of Equine Recovery for Veterans, or CERV program, is a partnership between the Veterans Recovery Center, a psychosocial rehabilitation center, and MTSU’s Horse Science Program. 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.

3 Doors Down established the Better Life Foundation as a charitable organization in 2004. It has raised and distributed more than $3 million to children’s charities, local municipalities and faith-based groups to achieve its goals of helping local communities. More information is available at

MTSU recording industry alumnus Chet Roberts (Class of 2004) attended the presentation, along with band manager JP Durant.

Brian McSpadden, a recreation therapist with the Tennessee Valley Healthcare System’s Alvin C. York campus, shared with those attending the many benefits of equine therapy.

To learn more about the horse science program, visit or call 615-898-2832. It is a part of the School of Agribusiness and Agriscience, which is one of 11 College of Basic and Applied Sciences departments.

— Randy Weiler (

Jen Arnold, left, and MTSU student Caroline Blackstone admire Jay R, one of the MTSU horses used in the CERV equine therapy program to assist veterans. Arnold’s husband, Brad Arnold, lead singer for the rock band 3 Doors Down, and the Better Life Foundation presented a $10,000 check for the Center of Equine Recovery for Veterans June 13 at the Horse Science Center.