Operation Second Chance, Horses at Liberty Benefit - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

Operation Second Chance, Horses at Liberty Benefit

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Operation Second Chance offers wounded soldiers a chance to get away and help them with the transition to civilian life. The program has a special guest visiting in Absarokee for a performance, lecture, and Q&A session to benefit the organization on Friday evening.

Operation Second Chance provides opportunities for wounded soldiers, often couples, to make lifelong memories on a retreat in Montana after a difficult transition back to normal life. Montana is one of six states where the weeklong retreat is offered.

"Operation Second Chance probably saved my life," says Jonathan Fehrenback, a wounded veteran who first took part in the Operation Second Chance retreat last year. Because of how much the retreat affected he and his wife, Fehrenback returned this year to help organizers, and to help wounded veterans who struggle with the transition to civilian life, something he admits was a struggle for him. "It really brought me and my wife a lot closer and gave me the chances to kind of help myself a little bit."

Hank Tuell, Western Regional Director of Operation Second Chance, says it's a great opportunity for military couples to rekindle their relationship after the stress of surviving combat trauma.

"They haven't had a chance to just spend time alone. We bring them out here and let them bond, remember what it's like to have a husband and wife around and enjoy and relax," says Hank Tuell, Western Regional Director of Operation Second Chance. But it's not just for military couples. It's also for individual injured service members and for families.

Tuell is a Vietnam veteran. He and his crew act as a guide on the retreat taking military couples on various activities including river rafting and horse back riding.

"Horseback riding and horses are a great part of how we help the young folks heal," says Tuell.

After hearing about what Operation Second Chance does for wounded soldiers, Master Horse Trainer David Lichman wanted to use his talent and bond with horses to raise money for the organization. This is Lichman's second stop on his tour dedicated to helping raise money for organizations, using therapeutic bond with horses to do so.

"Something about horses, just being with them is healing. So, I'm really proud to be able to support them in this," says Lichman, a Five Star Master Parelli Professional. Lichman understands the special bond between horses and humans and believes training them by building that relationship is stronger than using fear.

"This is considering the feelings and the relationship first before the tasks that the horses are supposed to do. So we try to train horses with communication, understanding, and psychology rather than force, fear, and intimidation," says Lichman.

The result, a display of affection, bonding, and respect. "I believe that horses and humans were put on earth to be together, and it's been my experience that it's been very fruitful."

Lichman and his horses, Julio and Scotty, will perform Friday from 7-9 PM at the Anipro Arena in Absarokee. Tickets are $15 in advance, and $20 at the door. Children 12 and under are free. Fifty percent of all gross ticket sales will be donated to Operation Second Chance.