After two long years, Tammy Hazelwood was able to welcome locals to Joshua’s Angel Center of the Carolinas.
Hazelwood has been working with volunteers and sponsors to open a recreational facility for children with disabilities and their parents to provide a free vacation for families who cannot go on a traditional trip.
Hazelwood was joined at the Boonville horse center by volunteers and sponsors who helped make the dream she had for her son and others with disabilities a reality.
Kentucky Fried Chicken of Elkin and Yadkinville, McDonald’s of Dobson, Carolina Carports and the U.S. Submarine Veterans of Winston-Salem/Greensboro have donated food, money, buildings and time to help make the center operational.
The center will provide free horse rides to children and adults Thursday, Friday and Saturday by appointment.
Children were given rides as part of the grand opening as well. Tammy and her son Joshua, the namesake of the center, cut the ceremonial ribbon then walked up a ramp to let the kids get on the horses from a safe venue.
Justin Draughn was the first of the day. Justin seemed thrilled to ride on the horses, laughing the whole time and smiling at his friends and family as he rode around the corral.
Roger Glenn and two other volunteers helped Justin stay safe during the ride. Glenn led the horse as the others walked one on each side of Justin, holding him safely and preventing him from falling.
After Justin, Austin James was put on the horse and rode. Currently the center has two horses but will eventually have four.
Jim Myers with the Submariners group said the veterans became associated with Joshua’s Angel after expanding their Caps for Kids program, originally dedicated strictly to terminally ill children.
“We’ve expanded it quite a bit. We realize that there’s a lot more need out here in the handicap world and disabled world,” Myers said. He and the other veterans volunteered and built the handicap-accessible ramp that lets riders get onto the horses easily.
The center was ready to be opened several weeks ago but was delayed by damage caused by the freak storm that crossed the state and downed trees, power lines, and resulted in at least two deaths.
With the threat of rain the crowd was anxious to get the event completed before the approaching weather, but in the end the potential downpour held off and the event remained rain-free.
A bounce house for the kids was donated for the day and a cookout meal was provided.
Now that the center is open the real work begins. Hazelwood is looking for sponsors to help with the non-profit’s insurance and operational costs. Food for the horses alone costs nearly $200 a week.
The sponsorship roundup is part of an initiative Hazelwood and Joshua’s Angel’s board are calling “Build the Barn.”
Hazelwood said she needs help with “horse feed, hay, used helmets [for the riders to wear], used saddles. We’re also looking for sponsors that will sponsor with us on our insurance a year, which is $1,500 a year. Anything that you want to donate is a tax write-off and we are a 501 (C) non-profit organization.”
“I think it’s a really good thing she is doing so we’re here to help and support the community,” said Tina, the district manager of KFC in Elkin, Yadkinville and Mocksville.
Those interested in donating should contact Tammy Hazelwood at 336-244-7997.
To contact Taylor Pardue call 336-835-1513 ext. 15, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.