TAYLORSVILLE, Ky. — Memorial Day is a tough day for Veteran’s Club member Tim Daigle.
“Remember, whatever happens in the barn stays in the barn,” says Daigle.
The eight-year Army veteran and current Kentucky National guardsman never has to spend the day alone.
Each Memorial Day, the Veteran’s club provides a space for veterans to connect and talk through issues.
“If you let things build and fester over time, it just becomes uncontrollable, and that’s how a lot of soldiers unfortunately do. They take their lives or they turn to drugs, they turn to alcohol, they find things to cope in unhealthy ways,” says Daigle.
Daigle says the club’s equine therapy program is especially helpful on Memorial Day for veterans struggling with different traumas and losing brothers and sisters in arms.
“We had a guy in my unit. He passed away unfortunately, his own life, which was a sad day for the whole time battalion,” says Daigle.
On Memorial Day, he also remembers his grandfathers. One was a veteran, the other a first responder.
“It’s a sad day, but it’s also a beautiful day,” says Daigle. “The key is to remember the happy times you’ve had with them, the times that you’ve shared with them, the times you’ve laughed, the times you’ve actually done adventures,” says Daigle.
Scott Heath, the club’s equine professional, and his wife have owned horses for 23 years.
They partnered with the club three years ago to let veterans work with their horses.
“I knew the power in it just from some of my friends from college that were military veterans that had PTSD,” says Heath. “I had them come out and just play with the horses a little bit and how therapeutic it is for my wife and I obviously.”
He says the equine session is a bit more special on Memorial Day
“Memorial Day is just a day for these guys to think about and remember those people that are not here and the reason that why we are still here and why we’re doing this,” says Heath. “Healing is the ultimate goal and camaraderie and a lot of fun.”
Daigle says it’s important to remember fallen soldiers and never forget the cost of freedom.
“Those who have sacrificed never forget them allow the opportunity for happy times to dwell on your mind. Just keep moving forward. Let that positive memories help you move forward,” says Daigle.
The veteran’s club is based in Louisville.
Veterans from as far as Maryland joined in remembering and honoring fallen soldiers.