Yelm center to see $70K in federal funds for veteran equine therapy


On Friday, U.S. Reps. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, D-Washougal, and Marilyn Strickland, D-Tacoma, announced $70,000 in federal funding for the Hope for Heroes Horsemanship Center in Yelm.

The center offers therapeutic horsemanship including horse training, riding and grooming for people who are experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, chronic depression and injuries including traumatic brain injuries. A news release Friday stated the nonprofit provides therapy for around 200 veterans and people on active military duty, many of whom have had suicidal tendencies. “Most all” of the center’s participants have PTSD or chronic depression, according to a quote in the release from Bob Woelk, manager of the center.

“This funding will directly reduce military suicides in our local area,” Woelk said.

Funds from Congress will go toward the center’s operational costs and is one of 14 community project funding grants Strickland has helped secure for the region, according to the news release.

Strickland said therapeutic horsemanship is a “proven,” effective method to improve the lives of participants.

“This grant will help them invest in the equine therapy facilities and instruction needed to support our nation’s heroes,” Gluesenkamp Perez said in the release, later adding, “I look forward to working with the Hope for Horsemanship Center to expand mental health services in Southwest Washington.”