He Made a Difference

Dean Massey, the founder of Horses Help Heroes, praising his horse, Hannah, in 2016. (Photo by Kristina Truluck)

I lost a Marine Corps veteran and friend to suicide in August. Dean Massey founded and ran a non-profit, Horses Help Heroes, to help military, veterans, and their families. My husband and I had the privilege of assisting this organization through the use of our horses, support at events, and participation in fundraisers.

As one of his Horses Help Heroes assistants said, “Dean was so busy helping others that he forgot to take care of himself.”

Dean’s sudden death shocked those who knew him. I personally wondered, “What did I miss?” And this is the same question I asked myself after my first cousin took his life. And after my stepbrother took his life.

A shocking statistic is that in 2019, an average of 20 veteran and active duty servicemembers have committed suicide every day. In case this may help just one person, here are the warning signs according to the Department of Veterans Affairs:

What are signs that someone may be considering suicide?

Many Veterans don’t show any signs of an urge to harm themselves before doing so. But some may show signs of depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, or hopelessness, like:

  • Seeming sad, depressed, anxious, or agitated most of the time
  • Sleeping either all the time or not much at all
  • Not caring about what they look like or what happens to them
  • Pulling away from friends, family, and society
  • Losing interest in hobbies, work, school, or other things they used to care about
  • Expressing feelings of excessive guilt or shame, failure, lack of purpose in life, or being trapped

They may also change the way they act, and start to:

  • Perform poorly at work or school
  • Act violently or take risks (like driving fast or running red lights)
  • Do things to prepare for a suicide (like giving away special personal items, making a will, or seeking access to guns or pills)

Get the full list of signs that someone may be considering suicide

If you are a Veteran or you know a Veteran who is showing any of these signs, call the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.net, or text to 838255 today.

There are many remembering you, Dean, and the purposeful life you lived serving others. May you rest in peace and know you made a difference.

Equestrian Author Spotlight: Meet Valerie Ormond

Thank you to Carly Kade Creative for this wonderful interview and sharing my story with her many readers and followers. Here is Carly’s beautiful post, and please take a look at some of the great equestrian authors she has featured since starting this series in 2016. I’m honored to be in their company! #authorsunite

In this 40th Equestrian Author Spotlight, I talk with fellow equine author Valerie Ormond. Of course, we discuss the best topics on earth — writing, books and horses! In the interview, horse book lovers will meet the horse that inspired her to write horse books with an important message. She says, “I believe self-doubt is the single biggest obstacle to people achieving success. One does not have to be rich, famous, brilliant, or beautiful to be successful. It takes belief, and determination, to make a difference.” I couldn’t agree more. Happy reading!

https://www.carlykadecreative.com/blog/equestrian-author-spotlight-meet-valerie-ormond

 

Veteran Writing Services Celebrates Five Years in Business!

Who would have known that the first scribblings of a horse book would turn into Veteran Writing Services, now a a successful company for five years?

As crazy as it sounds, I woke up one night in October 2009 with an idea for a book sparked by an idea from a friend. My supportive husband understood, and I went to the living room and took down notes until early in the morning for what became the outline of my first book, Believing In Horses. I also fortunately had former bosses [Read more…]

A Lucky Call to Serve

So excited to share this story featured in the beautiful Sidelines magazine. I had the opportunity to write this story about inspiring young Jessica Groen, her road to the U.S. Air Force Academy, and her special connection with our horse, Lucky. (Click above for full story.)

Lucky also happens to be a central character in books Believing In Horses and Believing In Horses, Too and has appeared in this blog frequently over the years.

Thank you to the Groen family and the Sidelines editorial staff for helping tell this story.

Creating and Managing Successful Internships

Maryland Horse Council Intern Holden Rafey interviewing Olympian Joe Fargis (photo courtesy of Holden Rafey)

I landed my first professional job at WJZ-TV in Baltimore, Md., after serving as an intern while a student at Towson University. At 21-years-old, I became the station’s assistant Public Relations Officer with real duties and responsibilities and had the opportunity to work with industry icons like Oprah Winfrey. I owe that job and experience to my supervisor during my internship, Joyce Kashima. [Read more…]

Taking Chances

AIE_VeteranWritingServices (1)It’s been three years since a Navy friend asked me if I was interested in applying for the Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE) program.  At the time I thought:

“Entrepreneur? Doesn’t that mean someone who wants to get rich?”

[Read more…]