SALADO — Senior Miss Five Hills Dawn Hale spent eight years as a combat communications specialist in the U.S. Army during Operation Desert Storm. She personally understands the mental and emotional toll that combat can take on members of the U.S. military.
Hale and the Copperas Cove Five Hills royalty spent Saturday at Angel Wings Ranch in Salado, removing debris to give more pasture access to the horses that provide therapy for soldiers with PTSD and victims of sex trafficking.
“It was a true joy to be able to help out at Angel Wings Ranch. It has a great program of helping rescued horses who in turn help people coping with daily struggles,” Hale said. “I call this a double blessing of a program, and I encourage everyone to help by either donating their time or money to keep this program going and growing.”
Young Miss Five Hills Elise Fuselier’s father, who is retired from the military, suffers from PTSD.
“I volunteered at the ranch because it made me feel like I was making a difference in someone’s life. To me it was more than just cleaning,” Fuselier said. “It was saving a life, saving a family. Many important people in my life suffer from PTSD including my dad. I know how challenging it is for people with PSTD to live an everyday life. So, I felt inclined to help.
“Though I am not, and do not, know of anyone who was or is a victim of sex trafficking, I have read many articles about it and studied it in my law classes. I have learned how damaging it is and how girls the same age as me suffer and are abused and raped and much more. I feel like the ranch is doing a lot for those young women and those men and everyone who attends therapy and even those people who don’t speak about the problems they face.”
Copperas Cove Five Hills Junior Ambassador Hayley Sawyer is an avid rider and was excited to volunteer.
“I personally love horses and know how much spending time with horses can help people,” Sawyer said. “Angel Wings Ranch is an amazing cause that does just that, helps people heal through horses. Clearing the area at the ranch for the pasture was such a wonderful opportunity because it provided the horses and riders a beautiful area to ride in.”
Ranch owners Mike and Rena Schroeder welcomed the titleholders to the ranch, sharing that the pile of metal, concrete, glass, bricks, tin, wire, and other debris was a project that they could not accomplish without help due to the requirements of running their non-profit program.
“We are so grateful to have this special group that came to help clean up the junk we so desperately needed cleaned up,” Rena Schroeder said. “Because they volunteered their time, we will be able to have our very first annual Christmas celebration.”
To volunteer or connect someone in need of equine therapy, contact Angel Wings Ranch through its website at https://angelwingsranch.org/.