Laurinburg, N.C. – Nov. 21, 2017 – The two-time Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA) Western National Champion team along with the IHSA Hunt Seat team and members of their Intercollegiate Dressage team, staff and coaches gathered Nov. 15 at the Avinger Auditorium on the St. Andrews University campus for a special event. Peggy McElveen, director of the St. Andrews Equestrian Center and Carla Wennberg, IHSA Western head coach, led the group in assembling holiday packages to ship to U.S. troops stationed in Afghanistan, Iraq and Africa.
“It was a really joyous event,” Wennberg said. “Our goal is to make our soldiers feel special even though they won’t be home for the holidays.”
St. Andrews University is only 40 miles from Fort Bragg, the largest military installation in the world with more than 50,000 active duty personnel. Many students have significant others and family members that are deployed and some students are veterans.
With advice from leadership at Fort Bragg and St. Andrews veterans and families, the packages were filled with items that soldiers may find hard to get while in the field. Items like toiletries, baby wipes, socks, candy, game books and writing materials may be in short supply and much-appreciated by the troops.
The group set up the individual gifts down the rows of the auditorium and, one by one, the students passed through the makeshift assembly line and filled their boxes with presents. Students also added a personal holiday message into each box.
St. Andrews student Phil Alden, from Tucumcari, New Mexico, and a member of the IHSA Western team wrote this special note for a soldier:
Wennberg said that some students used their last bit of funds for the month to contribute to the effort. She was moved by the enthusiasm of the students.
“I had my Christmas last night,” Wennberg said. “It is so wonderful to see the light come on for these young people. This is what teamwork is about and that is part of the IHSA experience – learning life lessons along the way. It is so rewarding.”
Wennberg and the team will load the 121 boxes into her horse trailer and deliver them to Fort Bragg where the packages will be shipped to the troops.
The IHSA was founded in 1967 by Robert Cacchione while he attended Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, New Jersey. The organization was established so that any full-time college student could participate in equestrian competition regardless of economic status, gender or riding level. The IHSA emphasizes learning and sportsmanship and fosters teamwork. Now celebrating its 50-year anniversary, the organization has grown to include 400 member teams and 10,000 riders in Hunter Seat Equitation, Western Horsemanship and Reining. The IHSA encompasses 40 Regions, 8 Zones and 45 states and Canada. College or university teams, individuals, alumni and coaches may become members.
For more information go to: IHSAinc.com
Carrie Wirth | EQ Media | (612) 209-0310 | carrie@EQmedia.agency