Everyday Hero: Helping veterans with animals in Lake Mary
Christi Hubbard created the nonprofit Veteran Rescue, which uses animal-assisted therapy to help veterans in their rehabilitation and reorientation through various services.
By Jeff Allen, Reporter
Last Updated: Monday, July 20, 2015, 5:15 AM
LAKE MARY —
Life after war and serving overseas can be very difficult for many veterans. A local nonprofit organization is helping veterans by matching them with animals in need of a good home.
While many veterans have left the battlefield, some are still haunted by the memories of what they went through. Some escape by taking their own life.
Christi Hubbard grew up in a military family.
“I came from a long line of military guys and girls,” Hubbard said. “If you can help somebody, even if you have no money, you should help them.”
Hubbard created the nonprofit Veteran Rescue. It takes in rescue animals and then matches them with veterans from Central Florida and U.S. who are looking for a feline or canine companion.
“Every veteran is different,” Hubbard said. “It could be dogs, cats, birds. It could be fish.”
U.S. Army Veteran Tom Cruz fought in Iraq and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
“Soldiers with PTSD have a place to go to and get relaxation and (get) away from all of the stresses they have,” Cruz said.
Cruz now works with Veterans Rescue to help match fellow veterans with animals.
“Animals and dogs have a way of bringing that out with soldiers with mental disorders — the comfort, the awareness,” Cruz said.
Hubbard’s Lake Mary home now serves as Veteran Rescue’s home base. She rents out ranches where veterans can work with horses.
But Hubbard hopes to raise enough money to soon buy a ranch, where she could have more room to care for rescue animals and more space where veterans could experience equine therapy.
“We can work with you and get you to that point where you can continue on with life,” Hubbard said.
Added Cruz: “She provides a service that is well-needed within the veteran community.”
For more information on Veterans Rescue, go to http://veteranrescue.org/