Moody Airmen volunteer at Hopes and Dreams

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jarrod Grammel
  • 23rd Wing Public Affairs
Editor's note: The mention of Hopes and Dreams does not constitute endorsement by Moody Air Force Base or the U.S. Air Force.

More than a dozen Moody Airmen came together May 11 to assist with the construction of a new riding facility dedicated to helping veterans recover from post-traumatic stress disorder.

When the owner of Hopes and Dreams Riding Facility asked for help, Airmen were more than willing to volunteer their time and get involved.

"I got an email for a volunteer opportunity and looked more into it," said Christopher Watson, one of the volunteers. "I did research on Hopes and Dreams and saw it was for a really good cause. I wanted to get involved, and there were a lot of eager volunteers within my shop."

Mr. Randall is thankful for all the help he received from Airmen.

"I am so thankful for all the volunteers and help we received from Moody," said Mike Randall, the facility's owner. "Everybody that comes out here to help has been great. Without their help this project wouldn't have been as successful."

Hopes and Dreams is not only a place that helps service members deal with PTSD, it is a place that allows Airmen to help with a cause that benefits other veterans.

Some of the Airmen who volunteer frequently in the community are from the 41st Helicopter Maintenance Unit.

One of the eager volunteers was Airman 1st Class Vanshun Allen, 41st HMU aircraft hydraulics.
"I came out here to give back and do something beneficial," said Airman Allen. "It feels good to help out both community members and possible fellow Airmen.

"It's good that Moody Airmen come out here to volunteer," he added. "It shows that Airmen are dedicated to their job and helping the community."

Mr. Randall is dedicated to helping Airmen for another reason. He saw first-hand the effects of PTSD when two of his sons returned from deployments with signs that indicated this disorder.

"The mission of Hopes and Dreams is to help troops who have PTSD," said Mr. Randall. "My sons had some problems with PTSD, and we tried everything to help. I remembered that riding horses always helped me relax and thought it might be able to help them.

"I tried using horses to help my sons, and it worked so well that I decided to expand," he added. Horseback riding can greatly improve the symptoms of PTSD. There's just something about horseback riding that helps people heal."

In addition to helping fellow Airmen through this project, Moody volunteers also spend their time assisting the local community. They spent more than 40,000 hours in 2010 to better both Moody and the local community.