I would like to begin by stating that Hope & Healing at Hillenglade is a God-breathed organization. Jennifer has created a haven for veterans, who are in various stages of grief and pain. HHH’s goal is to restore the troubled veteran to a state of peaceful existence through Equine-assisted therapy. My personal experience with this process has enriched me above my expectations. There are no time limits at HHH. Veterans must have a place to go where barriers to healing are minimized…HHH in Nashville is such a place. Since my involvement with Jennifer and the HHH Staff, I have felt transformations of my heart and mind, which has restored my trust in humanity, and in my Creator. God’s footprint is visible all over Hillenglade. Jennifer has provided me strength and guidance continuously without regard for time constraints. Her sincere availability for veterans is unselfish, and her life is driven by service. It is with unwavering devotion that I endorse the mission and staff of Hope and Healing at Hillenglade.
A few years ago, I decided to come off of all of my Psychotropic drugs – I have taken some type of substance from the Military or VA since 1986. When I came to HHH, I just decided to let whatever happens happen and avoid trying to control anything. The horses helped me receive hope that I didn’t expect. They gave something to me that I haven’t been able to get in my counselor’s office. Thank you, HHH, for taking the time to allow God to work with me through the horses.
Gianna loved working with horses JB and Bunny at her first visit to the farm. It was a great escape from the difficulties in our life right now after losing my husband and Gianna’s dad in service. We are extremely appreciative of the opportunity to visit HHH and the generosity of Jennifer’s organization and staff.
What you’ve created for the Nashville and Veteran community at Hillenglade is the epitome of charity and serving God. I support this cause 100% and I look forward to seeing it grow, the chapel build is exciting and I’d enjoy attending service. When my mother comes into town this summer you can count on us coming by, I’d like to rent a suite for her there, so she can spend the night. She will love that, she served the navy too.” God bless you and talk again soon.
Everyone at Hillenglade thanked us over and over for our military service, and loved on our kids like they were their own. It was so amazing.
My name is Mark DeLuzio, and I am a Gold Star Father, having lost my son, Steven, who was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2010. I have started an outreach program to provide business and career advice to Veterans. This free service is called B.R.A.V.E. (Business Reviews and Advisors to Veteran Entrepreneurs) (www.4thebrave.org).
B.R.A.V.E. also provides business advice to organizations designed to assist Veterans with various issues that they face. One of the most serious today is PTSD and suicide. Early this year, I was fortunate to meet actress and author, Jennifer O’Neill. I learned that Ms. O’Neill runs a horse farm in Nashville called Hope and Healing at Hillenglade (HHH).
Since 2010, Ms. O’Neill has hosted over 4,000 Veterans and their families, including Gold Star Families suffering from their own PTSD. These guests at HHH experienced equine therapy’s magic, and the stories that I have heard have been nothing but remarkable. However, I had to see for myself, so I recently visited Ms. O’Neill’s farm and saw her in action. Ms. O’Neill ran an equine session with one of her rescue horses and a Veteran named Billy, who is suffering from severe PTSD.
As Billy developed a relationship with the horse, it was clear that he alleviated his stress and became self-aware of the signals he was transmitting to the horse. Billy later responded that this one session would go a long way in helping him improve his interpersonal skills with family and friends. Right before my very eyes, I saw Billy’s transformation. I am personally devoting my time and B.R.A.V.E. resources to advance Ms. O’Neill’s outstanding and much-needed work to our nation’s heroes.
We lose well over 22 Veterans daily to suicide. If we can save one life, my time with HHH will be more than worth the investment.
After reading a testimonial on the positive effects of Equine Therapy, I reached out to Jennifer O’Neill at Hope & Healing at Hillenglade to see about bringing my boys out to help them process the loss of my brother-in-law, and to understand the impact grief was having on their mother. The time the boys and I spent with Jennifer, Morgan, Billy, and the horses created an opportunity for the boys and I to have a really meaningful discussion about our family and our feelings. What was unexpected was how much I needed to be there to help me deal with my own emotions. Thank you, Jennifer. I loved that you were so passionate about wanting to help our family. I can’t wait for us to come back again.
We had a fantastic time with the Hillenglade family. It was just a blessing to see Jen work with my family and the horses. My husband, Charles, really had a good time; he had not been smiling like that in a loooooong time.
The horses are mirrors to whoever approaches them, and I found out very quickly how wound up I am from 23 years of emergency calls. Although I wouldn’t characterize that I have full-blown PTSD, I would say I suffer from a big dose of hypervigilance brought on from my former career. The horses helped with that. It was pretty magical! Jen’s teaching helped as an experienced horse handler as well. I was truly humbled and amazed at the opportunity I was given.
The therapeutic effects of the horses on victims of PTSD is remarkable, according to O’Neill. “Horses are such gentle giants – Warriors relate to them because they are so powerful, and yet they have a keen sense of communication. They are magical animals with a calming effect… ” Dr. Marc Siegel, professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center and a Fox News contributor said, “Horses are absolutely therapeutic. I believe this.”
Jen, your latest HHH event, as always, was a warm, relaxing, joyful gathering of Heroes who had the privilege of being honored by you and the HHH Team with food, music, games and a healing ambiance… And of course magical horses!
Thank you for arranging such a superb program … I look forward to helping you with your future events.
In 2020, I came to Hope and Healing at Hillenglade from the VA after an attempted suicide. Working with the staff and horses was great. The sessions seemed to put my mind at ease. It helped me relax, and I could take some of the lessons with the horses and use them for coping skills and focus in other areas of my life. Plus, when you experience that animal give you all of its trust, it really makes you whole again. Following my graduation, I worked at HHH as the Farm Manager/horse handler for over a year, helping others heal. I want to help others heal by spending time with our rescue horses and donkeys!
Jen, thank you for your support of Veterans and their families through your programs, especially those suffering the effects of PTSD. We look forward to recognizing your great work at our Region III Banquet with a special award for your HHH efforts!
VOLUNTEERS AT HHH
Volunteering at HHH has been a very rewarding experience. I have been volunteering for about a year and a half. I am so happy to have the opportunity to not only help veterans, first responders and their families but volunteering here has also helped me become more assertive, a better listener, and has calmed my own anxieties. It is also very rewarding to watch as the horses help everyone that comes to HHH. You get hands-on learning experience with all different types of horses and donkeys! The bond you make with the horses here at HHH is unmatched. Please help out and volunteer!
“Volunteering anywhere brings you an extra sense of purpose, worthiness and connection but volunteering at HHH goes beyond those aspects. For me, there is something about being in nature that provides a calming effect for the mind and the body. The extra bonus is being surrounded by others who all have different stories of resilience and you feel you are making a small difference in their world too. You learn so much about people you never thought you would have the chance to be with and this can have all kinds of impact on the way you view your own life. It’s so rewarding to leave HHH with a humble connection to everything. You are always welcomed and appreciated beyond measure. It is a place where everyone can come together to find purpose and friendship.”
It has been an honor and a joy to support the ministry at HHH by serving as a volunteer at the farm for the last year, but it has also been a gift to me. Every single person at the farm needs to be there, for one reason or another, and I am no exception. I started volunteering after my family survived the 2020 Nashville Tornado, and it was an immense relief to have a place of such grounding and peace – a true respite from the trauma we survived. Since then, I have continued to benefit from working with and caring for the animals, and have found healing from other traumas in my life. I always look forward to my time at HHH, and have brought many friends along with me to experience the joy of working with our hands and the relief of taking a break from the stressors of life. It is a truly beautiful and healing place, and I’m so grateful to be here!
Just wanted to say a big thank you for the blessing of being able to come out to your place and learn even more and meet more people with your ministry. I had a blast again tonight and truly believe it was a God thing…a divine appointment. Amy is such an amazing woman and it wasn’t long before we realized we are sojourners on a painful path that was chosen for us… A path neither of us wanted but are determined to move through with growth and strength….. Thank you for being the catalyst to this new place for me to love people AND horses.