As a warmup for Equest‘s Boots and Salutes at Texas Horse Park, a panel discussion was held at presenting sponsor CrossFirst Bank on Thursday, June 13, for the fundraiser’s patrons. Guests learned how Equest’s Hooves for Heroes program has been important for returning veterans. Here’s a report from the field:
On Thursday, June 13, guests filled the shimmering CrossFirst Bank office space for the Boots and Salutes Patron Party. Amongst the breath-taking views, wine, cocktails, and hors d’oeuvres provided by Food Glorious Food, guests learned about the healing power of the horse through a panel discussion led by Jeff Hensley, MS, LPC, Navy veteran and Equest board member, and Equest Veterans Manager and Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning Susannah Denney. Boots and Salutes, presented by CrossFirst Bank, benefits Equest’s Hooves for Heroes program which promotes the well-being and mental health of veterans and their families through equestrian therapies and counseling.
The panel – featuring mental health specialists Leslie West, MS, LPC-Intern and Equest counseling program manager, Veronica Jimenez, MSW, Texas Air National Guard veteran and Jay Hayes, MEd, LPC, Navy veteran and lead case manager at Endeavors, Inc. – discussed numerous topics including what brought them to Equest, the challenges veterans face upon their return home and what prevents some veterans from seeking help.
Said Hayes, “I went straight into service at 17-years-old and was always told what to do and when to do it, so when I got back home and had to make my own decisions, I didn’t know how to do that.”
Since its founding in 2012, Equest’s Hooves for Heroes has helped more than 1,500 veterans and military family members at no cost, thanks to generous grant funding, charitable donations, and underwriting. As pointed out by Hensley, “There is a need for alternative therapies in the veteran community.”
Additional attendees included Equest CEO Lili Kellogg, Equest Chairman of the Board Lane Cates, Equest Co-Founder Susan Schwartz, Boots and Salutes Co-Chairs Carolyn Anderson and Norma Jean Schaltenbrand, Nancy and Ron Natinsky, Ryan Smith, Hannah Sherertz, Emily Luth and Kailey Pretzlaff, among others.
Boots and Salutes is made possible by presenting sponsor CrossFirst Bank, Pendery’s World of Chiles and Spices, Mavs Foundation, SettlePou Law Firm, Luther King Capital Management, Living Magazine, Rita Wortham Photography, Bob Manzano Photography, Bar Louie, Carlton Provisions, Doc B’s Fresh Kitchen, Haute Sweets Patisserie, Kolache Factory, Pop Star Handcrafted Popsicles, Resident Taqueria, and Savor Gastropub.
Boots and Salutes, presented by CrossFirst Bank, benefiting Equest’s Hooves for Heroes, will be held on Friday, July 19, starting at 7:30 p.m. at Equest at Texas Horse Park (811 Pemberton Hill Road, Building 4). Led by Co-Chairs Carolyn Anderson and Norma Jean Schaltenbrand, the festivities include upbeat music by Ray Johnston Band, dancing, auction items, delicious small bites, and tributes to the men and women who have served our country to protect our freedom. Tables (of eight) are available to purchase for $600 and individual tickets for $75. For more information, visit www.equest.org/boots.