GREENFIELD — A budding artist and veterans’ advocate has taken up his paintbrush to benefit Edelweiss Equine-Assisted Therapy Center.
Kurt Vetters of Greenfield, a former U.S. Army captain, learned how to paint just last month. But Vetters, who is an Edelweiss board member and the director of the revamped veterans program at the therapy center, has combined his new pastime with his existing passion for helping veterans heal from wounds of war through therapy with horses.
Edelweiss Equine-assisted Therapy Center recently announced a fundraising campaign offering original watercolor paintings of Edelweiss horses — or an image of the donor’s choice — by Vetters for the top five donors. Edelweiss offers equine-assisted therapy for children and adults with special needs, including therapeutic horseback riding, companion riding and therapeutic carriage driving, and for veterans, the Equine Services for Heroes Program. Special needs does not prevent a person from interacting with horses, and many find riding and driving the horses rewarding, officials said. Edelweiss is hoping to raise at least $20,000 for operating funds through the campaign.
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“We have a $3,000 donor match for the first $3,000 we raise, so we already are off to a fast start,” said Lindsay Fisher, development director at Edelweiss. “There has been an unprecedented demand for our services in 2016. While we are a volunteer-run organization, we have significant expenses involved in feeding and vetting the horses and maintaining the barn and equipment.”
Vetters said the organization hopes to eventually raise $110,000 to purchase an indoor arena that will allow riders to spend time with the horses year-round. Currently, the organization has outdoor facilities and cannot have winter sessions, he said. Donations can be made through on the Edelweiss website, horses4therapy.org or by mail to P.O. Box 998, Greenfield, IN, 46140.