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WETRA thanks its volunteers with a special night

WETRA Volunteers with a small horse

Whether it’s sweltering heat or battling two feet of snow, they are always there.

Taking care of the horses, ensuring the clients are enjoying riding and visiting – it’s all in a day’s work for the volunteers at the Windsor Essex Therapeutic Riding Association (WETRA).

Friday night the McGregor located organization opened its doors and said a big thank you to its over 170 volunteers during a volunteer appreciation night.

“Without them we would not be able to operate. They believe in our mission and they are with us every step of the way,” said WETRA volunteer co-ordinator John Casey.

He said that in any given week there could be as many as 80 helping the clients mount the horses, taking care of the stables and making sure everything is in order.

Bernadette Grenon has been volunteering at the stables for 15 years and started when WETRA was on Huron Church Road in Windsor.

“I’ve always had a passion for horses. As a kid I was never exposed to them,” said Grenon.

Watching her take care of the gentle horse Levi, Grenon is very confident and calm and is one of nine WETRA volunteers who will be recognized by the Province of Ontario at a special ceremony in the near future.

“We have great partnerships. The County of Essex send out 30 volunteers for two days. It’s extremely beneficial for us,” said Casey.

WETRA dates back to the 1960’s and today helps 200 persons with special needs of which 80 percent are children with developmental, emotional or physical disabilities.

Last week was International Volunteer Week and as special guest to WETRA, country western up and coming star Carson Janik played some of his hits, there was a lot of activity going on in the barns.

Dylan Clark who has been helping out at WETRA since she was eight-years-old was busy guiding miniature horse Winnie around to meet visitors.

“I help teach lessons. I clean the barn and feed the horses,” said Clark, who first came out in 2014 as part of a March break program. “I’ve made friends here. I’m here three days a week.”

While some come to get in their mandatory high school volunteer hours, many stay on once that is completed.

“I started because I need the high school hours, it’s fun,” said volunteer James Allen who was helping Clark.

Anyone wishing to volunteer at WETRA will require a police clearance with vulnerable sector screening. For more information, call 519-726-7682.

WETRA thanks its volunteers with a special night

By Fred Groves



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