BUCHANAN, Va. (WFXR)– New Freedom Farm is a non-profit that helps Veterans with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance abuse, and traumatic brain injury (TBI) by using the therapeutic activity of interacting with our equines, farming, and peer-to-peer support.
It was founded by Lois Dawn Fritz in October of 2016 out of her personal understanding of PTSD and the relief she experienced through time spent in the midst of her horses.
“I started my own personal healing journey of recovering from alcohol and was in therapy and my therapist said do something you always wanted to do, so I got my first horse at the age of 40,” said Fritz.
“My second horse was a wild mustang that had never been humanly touched and I call her my sobriety sister. She’s on-site here right now. Every day I looked at her and I would say we will make a difference in other lives.”
The farm, dedicated to helping those who have served our country along with their families, is located on 13 level acres in Buchanan, VA. It is a safe place for veterans suffering from PTSD/TBI, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and secondary trauma.
“Every Veteran, every First responder and every volunteer are all drawn here for a reason because they have some kind of pain or trauma inside themselves,” said Fritz.
“I think they are all created equal. I think it’s just being able to realize we’re normal. This is our new normal.”
Fritz doesn’t have an exact number of how many Veterans the farm has helped, but she does have some of their stories.
“There’s been a female veteran who came with two little girls that was a agoraphobic, wasn’t leaving her house,” said Fritz.
“She started coming to the farm. She finished her degree. She now works a full-time job.”
Andrew Kintgen, an Army Veteran, credits Lois and the farm with helping him during his darkest days.
“She saved my life. I wouldn’t be here today if I didn’t come to this farm. That’s an honest statement from me,” said Kintgen.
“I watch it all the time. I hear phone calls or I hear about a phone call or a Veteran in need. I’ve been on the other end of the phone call myself with a Veteran in need.”
New Freedom Farm is a 501c3 nonprofit that works solely off of donations. There is no charge to veterans who wish to visit, and all visitors are welcome to make an appointment outside of regular hours. The farm is open Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., not including holidays or during special events.