A third donation in three years — this one for $15,000 — 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 will go toward yet-to-be-determined program improvements, said Andrea Rego, an MTSU horse science instructor and overseer of the Center of Equine Recovery for Veterans, or CERV, program.
3 Doors Down’s foundation now has given $35,000 for the program since 2017. Band frontman Brad Arnold and his wife, Jen, presented the check recently at the MTSU Horse Science Center on West Thompson Lane.
The Center of Equine Recovery for Veterans is a partnership between the Veterans Recovery Center and the MTSU horse science program.
CERV offers veterans from the recovery center an opportunity to ride and benefit from interacting with horses while MTSU students gain valuable experience in helping facilitate the sessions.
“We’re glad to be able to up the amount of the donation,” Brad Arnold said. “And if we can do more in the future, we’ll do more.”
“This is a great, great cause,” he added. “… We’re equine people ourselves. We know how good they (horses) are for people. The relationship between a human and horse is a powerful thing. We’re glad to be able to further that along and what it can do to help for our vets. … They deserve all of our support. I believe in what they’re doing here and we’re just proud to be a part of it.”
Jim Tranthem, 65, a veteran from Lafayette, Tennessee, would drive the two hours from Macon County to participate in two days of therapy for nearly nine weeks.
“This is great,” Tranthem said of the program. “I didn’t think it would fit or what I was needing, but now I want to do more.”
Gary Block, 39, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran from Thompsons Station, Tennessee, attended the April 2 announcement with his wife, Jenn, and daughter Daniella Ford.
“I look forward to it,” Block said. “Normally, I do not want to get out of bed. The (equine) therapy is motivation to get moving and (be) in shape, and makes me want to do more.”
Dr. John Shuster, VA acting chief of recovery services, said he wanted “to thank our generous donors and partners at MTSU. The folks at the Tennessee Valley VA appreciate them, too.”
MTSU horse science treated all attendees to a barbecue lunch in Miller Coliseum’s Miller Club. Rego gave CERV T-shirts to the Arnolds and band manager JP Durant.
— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)