Providing Helping Hands & Healing
Warrior Outreach is a non-profit organization based in Fortson, GA that assists members of the military, veterans, and their families. The organization was founded in 2008 by US Army (Retired) Command Sergeant Major Sam Rhodes. The mission of the organization is to provide support to veterans and service members through difficult times, such as returning from deployment or dealing with PTSD. The organization offers multiple programs to military families in the Chattahoochee Valley.
The Warrior Outreach Ranch is completely staffed by volunteers and offers a horsemanship program for service members, veterans and their families to give participants a chance to relax and spend time with their families. Equine instructors lead program participants through the horsemanship program which teaches the basics of horse care, such as how to put on a saddle and bridle, and then how to ride. Lynda Brooks, a program participant at The Ranch, says “The kids have learned how to interact with the horses. It is fun because all the horses have a story. Also, there is something very relaxing about being around a horse.”
Ashley Horn, an equine instructor at The Ranch, says “We found The Ranch six years ago. It was a healing place for us after I lost my husband to PTSD. We are all one big family. When Sam feels like someone needs something, I will meet with them and tell them my story. My story helps them to be able to relate and let go. The animals here help you heal. You get to know the horse well.”
Safety comes first at The Ranch, and program participants attend an orientation session to learn about safety and riding techniques before their first ride. Children under 18 are provided helmets and there are safety seats for babies to ride in. The horses are led by staff members until riders are comfortable with riding without help. Participants who display control and confidence in riding alone may be scheduled for trail rides.
Music Therapy at the Ranch
Warrior Outreach partners with the Operation Song organization annually to offer service members and their families a unique opportunity to experience music therapy. Each family selected through an application process meets with professional songwriters at The Ranch to create a song that tells their story. Then each family performs their song with the professional musicians from Operation Song, and all the songs from that session are placed on a CD that is provided by Operation Song and Warrior Outreach at no cost at a later date.
Veterans Helping Veterans
Warrior Outreach volunteers also partner with local organizations, such as House of Heroes, to provide home repair assistance. Veterans and their families in need of help with a home repair can receive an application by emailing email@example.com.
Community Center Available
The Ranch includes a community center with seating capacity of 75-100 individuals and a full kitchen with two exterior seating areas. Community members interested in holding an event in the community room can fill out an online application available at warrioroutreach.org. Once a month, the Warrior Outreach organization partners with Feeding the Valley and uses the Warrior Outreach facilities to distribute food to families who request support.
Military families interested in the programs offered by Warrior Outreach and members of the community interested in donating or volunteering can call 706-505-0708 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.