July 23, 2018

Sisters of Charity Foundation of Canton grant helps provide equestrian therapy for military and first responders

Through a $150,000 responsive grant, the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Canton helped provide support for Pegasus Farm to open the Military Family Center near Canton, which provides equestrian therapy for military veterans, first responders and their families.

The Canton Repository wrote about the grand opening of the center. The full text of the article is below and can be read at cantonrep.com.

Equestrian therapy center for military, first responders opens in Stark County

by Malcom Hall
The Canton Repository

Something about horseback riding helps Navy veteran Stephen Maple cope with his head injury.

Equestrian therapy comes during his weekly visits to Pegasus Farm in Marlboro Township. Pegasus recently opened another therapy complex specifically for those like Maple. The Military Family Center in the 5400 block of Meese Road Northeast provides physical and occupational therapy for military veterans, first responders and their families.

“I like to ride the horses. It is a lot of fun,” said Maple, a 26-year-old Canal Fulton resident who attended an event Wednesday celebrating the creation of the Military Family Center.

The facility, located on a former farm, includes a two-story house and a barn where five horses are kept. The basement features a physical and occupational therapy center with exercise equipment. The effort is a collaboration involving Pegasus Farm, Walsh University and Rotary International. Several local foundations provided financial support.

“A lot of people didn’t think this day would come,” said Dan Morgan, governor-elect of the Rotary International District 6650. “We were not the inspiration for this. It was the people who paid the ultimate price. This project is really beyond the scope of Rotary International. We don’t buy real estate. We have seven amazing foundations. We would not be here if not for them.”

Foundations contributing to the project were the Paul and Carol David Foundation, Deuble Foundation, Hoover Foundation, Sisters of Charity Foundation, Stark Community Foundation, Timken Foundation and Cleveland Foundation. Some Rotary International districts in India also contributed.

“That gave us the money to buy, to renovate,” said Donald Schenck, one of the founders of Pegasus Farm. “Through that funding we have enough money to operate for the rest of the year.”

Schenck said establishing the Military Family Center cost “a little over $1 million.”

The complex is about a mile northeast of Louisville.

Walsh University students will work with licensed therapists to provide physical and occupational therapy to the clients.

The Pegasus staff lacked the space at the main farm in Marlboro Township to launch the Military Family Center.

“We have so many programs going on,” said Carol Lichtenwalter, Pegasus Farm’s executive director. “This allows us to have a full-time effort to serve that population. It is about allowing us to do more.”

Programs at the Military Family Center are offered at no cost.

“Our commitment is to not charge a dime for anything here,” Lichtenwalter said.

Establishing the Military Family Center involved some alterations to the house.

“It wasn’t built for this purpose,” architect Michael Yeagley said. “We turned it into a commercial building.”

One example: The structure had to be made handicap accessible.

Pictured: Army National guardsman Henry Mentrack and U.S. Marine veteran Nicholas Nagle raise the flag over the Military Family Center during the recent ceremonial opening.

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