Flooding at New Freedom Farm in Buchanan

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BUCHANAN, Va. (WFXR) – New Freedom Farm has been hit hard by Wednesday’s flooding in parts of Botetourt County.

Lois Dawn Fritz, the owner of New Freedom Farm, has shared videos and photos with WFXR News of the farm being partially underwater.

“Usually it comes up pretty fast and goes down and we never have damage,” said Fritz. “This is the worst it’s ever been.”

The flooding damaged much of the property, including horse stables, the hay barn, and the hand-built fences that create the perimeter of the property.

“And then it became very, very scary because the amount of water that came so fast, so rapidly when the wild mustangs that we have and the little miniature horse that we have, it was very, very frightening,” she said.

Andrew Kintgen, an army veteran and employee at New Freedom Farm, was the only one on site at the time the water was at its peak. He jumped into action to move himself and the animals to safety.

“I don’t really care for the water so there was some fright in there, but fright helps keep you alive,” Kintgen said. “I just kind of went into my own survival mode and started picking out the horses and getting them to the area they needed to be so they won’t scatter, get out of the fences or ultimately drown.”

Kintgen’s military experience allowed him to quickly take action, moving the animals to higher ground.

“The survival that it takes in the military, especially overseas in combat, kicked in.”

Kintgen was not the only New Freedom Farm employee that took the floodwaters head-on.

Ramon Fernandez, another employee, was so dedicated to get to the farm he bought new shoes and waded through the knee-high water.

“I do a lot of walking. I run here and there, too,” Fernandez said. “And it’s just a little bit of water I guess.”

The cause of the flooding was due to heavy rainfall that has overflowed Looney Creek, bringing water onto the farm.

According to Fritz, cleaning and repairing the damage done to the propery is anticipated to be timely and costly, but she extends her grgatitude toward the supportive community, volunteers, and her own workers for their support and help.

“Human lives can’t be replaced and horses can’t be replaced. And it’s just stuff. It’s a lot of work to be done, and it’s a lot of costs involved, but it’s just stuff that we can repair.”

New Freedom Farm helps to serve veterans and their families who are dealing with PTSD, depression, anxiety, TBI and substance abuse disorders.

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