Wounded Warriors use recreation for healing
March 27, 2009
The sunny, cool day on March 18 provided the perfect atmosphere for a day of relaxation and recreation for a group of wounded and injured service members at Canterbury Trails in Grovetown. Peggy Lichtenberg, the owner of the farm, opened it up all day for the patients and staff to enjoy horseback rides, a petting zoo and fishing in a catch-and-release pond.
"I'm thrilled everybody is here," she said.
About 45 people including Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center staff and almost all of the inpatients in the active duty rehabilitation unit as well as some outpatients spent the day at the site.
Angela Olejniczak, a recreation therapist, said the outing was good therapy for the military service members.
"This gets them outside," she said.
Retired Sgt. 1st Class William Reese, who is an outpatient at the hospital, said he enjoyed the activities.
"This is great," said Reese, who was part of the first group to go horseback riding.
Lichtenberg said that horseback riding has many therapeutic benefits. One of the programs at the stables is a therapeutic riding program. Not only does riding a horse provide physical benefits, but the connection between the animal and rider often provides mental health benefits.
"With the special ed kids, I've seen so many miraculous things," she said. "There was a five year-old who had never spoken, and he was put on a horse and spoke."
Pvt. Brandy McMillen said she just liked getting out of the confines of the hospital.
"We should do stuff like this more often," said McMillen, a Mississippi native.