USA reported July 2014: Despite the legislation, despite the good intentions, the situation of military suicide has only gotten worse. In 2007, an average of 17 veterans killed themselves each day. Today, that number is 22.
USA reported Feb 2015: President Obama signed a veteran suicide prevention bill into law, calling on all Americans to "reach out and do more with and for our veterans."
"This has to be a national mission. As a nation, we should not be satisfied, will not be satisfied until every man and woman in uniform, every veteran, gets the help that they need to stay strong and healthy," Obama said.
The statistics are shocking and the cases of suicide are still spiraling. Shirley Bennett Anderson is the widow of John Albert Anderson, a disabled WWII veteran who wanted to reach out to his fellow comrades. He was 97 and living an active life watching their thoroughbred horses train for racing, watching the foals romp in the pasture at home and going to Gulfstream Park to see their “boys” race.
Johnny called himself a “horse whisperer” and suggested that their Secretariat descendants should be used as therapy for veterans from the local VA Hospital. That was the last item on his “Bucket List”. He knew first-hand the magical powers of being in the presence of these majestic creatures, but Johnny died before he could make his last wish come true. God blessed him by allowing him to leave this earth plane on what Johnny described as the most significant day of his life...Pearl Harbor Day of 2014. Our colt, My Storm Trooper won his allowance race earlier that day. Shirley told everyone, “God knew I couldn’t handle two losses in one day”. Now, Shirley is determined to honor Johnny’s wish in his memory and in memory of his name-sake, Johnny Leroy, (Secretariat’s last-born grandson) who was euthanized on a training track 1 year and 3 days after Johnny died. It was a tragedy that changed the course of her life.
It hasn’t been easy since he left, but Shirley is determined to fulfill Johnny’s wish by heeding the national call to help our veterans. Under her guidance and with the help of her partners, Glory Meadow’s team embraces the goal to provide a friendly, safe environment where all veterans from different backgrounds, genders and abilities can find place to enrich their lives through interacting with Secretariat descendants, most especially those suffering with PSTD. The program will offer therapeutic, educational and recreational equestrian activities, and include similar programs for Special Needs Children.
Our Therapeutic programs provide the opportunity to experience enjoyment, challenge and a sense of achievement to improve their quality of life, attain personal goals and develop life skills.