A group of Air Force Academy cadets hosted by Wright-Patterson Air Force Base was named the Therapeutic Riding Institute’s 2019 Volunteer Group of the Year Jan. 23 at its annual awards banquet.
This award is given to a service group that went above and beyond for the riding institute during 2019.
Accepting the award on behalf of the cadets was Lt. Col. Karen Kramer, the 88th Aerospace Medicine Squadron’s Public Health flight commander. She and Master Sgt. Sabrina Lukas, formerly with the 88th Security Forces Squadron, managed the three groups of cadets visiting Wright-Patt as part of the Academy’s Operation Air Force summer program.
The program sends cadets entering their junior year on temporary duty for two weeks to various air bases around the world providing cadets with a greater understanding of different Air Force missions and the multitude of career paths available.
A key component of the cadets’ summer effort is volunteer activities, allowing the cadets to make a meaningful impact during their short summer stay at Wright-Patt.
“The cadets were a crucial piece of our institute being able to get our new farm ready for the public open house in July. They not only helped us prepare our administrative offices with paint and tearing out old flooring, but they also helped us with a lot of heavy lifting we otherwise wouldn’t have been able to do,” said Sam Ingersoll, assistant program director at the institute.
The cadets’ efforts helped the center get its first permanent location ready for business. For the previous 46 years, the institute operated out of 14 different leased locations.
“They leveled stall floors in our barn, cleared brush out of our fence lines and installed our sign at the front of the farm so people were able to find us. All of this made it possible for us to have our farm show ready for our students, donors and volunteers to take their first steps onto our new forever home,” said Ingersoll. “We are truly grateful for all of their help!”
The Therapeutic Riding Institute is a volunteer-driven community service nonprofit organization. For participants ages 5 and older, the institute’s therapeutic riding programs are a recreational activity that provides opportunities for physical, emotional and cognitive benefit through horseback riding equine-assisted activities and therapies.
The institute has a variety of volunteer positions available. For more information on volunteer opportunities, contact Ingersoll at 937-619-7577 or visit
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