On June 13 guests filled the CrossFirst Bank office space for the Boots & 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 & 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.”
(Photos by Whitney Bessler)