US LBM, a leading distributor of specialty building materials in the United States, has named Freda Jones, Market Finance manager, as its 2023 Humanitarian Award Recipient for her outstanding community involvement and charitable work. As part of this recognition, the US LBM Foundation awarded a $10,000 grant to Special Equestrians on behalf of Jones.
Special Equestrians is a charitable organization in Fort Myers, Fla. that provides equine-assisted services to children and adults with disabilities, including veterans and people with cognitive and physical disabilities. Jones has volunteered more than 500 hours with the organization as a certified therapeutic riding instructor. In addition to providing therapy, Jones serves as a member of the organization's Executive Board and as treasurer, leading its fundraising efforts.
"People often ask why I volunteer so much time, and I tell them Special Equestrians is an amazing program that makes miracles happen and changes the lives of our clients and their families," said Jones in a written statement. "Hearing stories and seeing firsthand the improvements therapeutic horseback riding provides our clients – physically, developmentally, and for their self-esteem – are why I volunteer."
Experiencing the motion of a horse is therapeutic because horseback riding rhythmically moves the rider's body in a manner similar to the human gait. Riders with physical disabilities regularly show improvement in flexibility, balance, and muscle strength. Jones said Special Equestrians is an all-volunteer, self-administered board and 100% of all donations go directly to the program. US LBM's donation will be used for rider scholarships, horse care and a special project for the facility.
"Freda exemplifies the best of US through the selfless work she does to improve the lives of children, veterans, and those with disabilities," said US LBM President and CEO L.T. Gibson. "Supporting the work Freda does with Special Equestrians is why we created the US LBM Foundation, to reach into our local communities and make a positive difference in the lives of those in need."