President of Botetourt County farm named Red Cross Military Hero

We continue our 2018 Celebration of Heroes, where WSLS 10 and the Red Cross recognize those who make a difference in our community.

The volunteers at New Freedom Farm come in all sizes.

President Lois Fritz won't turn away help in an effort to make a difference in veterans' lives.

She moved to the area a couple of years ago and opened the equine therapy facility in October 2016.

“I literally closed with $17 to my name on the property and faith that I was going to help one person, one veteran, one at a time,” Fritz explained.

It didn't take long for her and the horses to change lives.

“I started with one vet I met in Tractor Supply and I didn't even have the name of New Freedom Farm,” she said.

Now, many other names have come alongside New Freedom Farm to help, like Rolling Thunder.

Larry Fink is the president of the Lynchburg chapter and explains why he wants to support the nonprofit and those with post-traumatic stress disorder.

“It provides them a place to come get treatment where there's no record kept,” explained Fink. “A lot of people don't understand that if you are an officer of the law, go to the hospital and are diagnosed with PTSD, you lose your gun, your job, your career. This gives them an alternative.”

It's almost an anonymous alternative.

Anyone who serves our country or community can show up during business hours and simply interact with the horses.

“I always say this, horses don't judge, equines don't judge, so we really feel it's a safe place with no judgment whatsoever,” Fritz said.

When asked if she felt like a hero, Fritz said, “Absolutely not. No way. I don't believe that I'm a hero in any way, shape or form.”

“She doesn't think so, but (to) people who volunteer and know what kind of person she is, she's a hero,” said Regina Gillispie, a New Freedom Farm volunteer.

She’s a hero, helping heal with horses.  

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