Community farm rebuilds after fire in 2017

CAVE JUNCTION, Ore. — Two years ago a barn went up in flames at a community farm which caused them to shut down a program that helps kids and adults with disabilities.

The program, Healing Hearts and Hooves, HHH, works with students who have disabilities or difficult backgrounds receive the support they need by working with horses.

In the summer of 2017, a box fan caught on fire, burning down the barn and everything inside.

“It was a very traumatic and devastating experience,” Renee Herndon, Director of Healing Hearts and Hooves, said. “We lost all of our grain, medications all of our stuff for our horses.”

With no grain, medications or tack, the healing program had to stop operations for some time.

“We did shut down temporarily that summer and then we did start classes back up,” Herndon said. “It was a little different doing it without the barn but we didn’t want students to go without.”

Herndon said it was an adjustment for them but board members knew they needed to keep the program afloat for their students. One of those students is Brooke Davis.

“She is a little miracle baby,” Roxanne Davis, mother of student Brooke Davis, said. “She’s had four brain surgeries and a spinal surgery all before a year.”

Brooke receives therapy at HHH to help with developing her brain like communicating and working on multitasking.

In order to keep the program running, they had to make some changes, like keeping their horses outside all day and night. But Herndon says it was worth it so they could make sure their students could continue getting the treatment they needed.

“Her coming here has helped so much like therapy wise for her in many ways like for physical therapy wise, mental and everything,” Roxanne Davis, said. “She’s starting to talk more at home and developmentally growing and progressing a lot.”

Now two years later, the barn is almost finished. Herndon says they expect to have it completely rebuilt by the end of the summer.

Blakely McHugh is co-anchor of NBC5 News at Sunrise and spokesperson for In This Together, a suicide prevention initiative. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Blakely is a native of San Diego, CA. Blakely is excited to be in southern Oregon, a place that gets all the seasons and has similar temperatures to Arizona in the summer! When she’s not at work, you can find her relaxing at home watching TV and cuddling with her cat, Dallas. She also enjoys trying new places to eat and exploring the outdoors. Blakely loves meeting new people so if you see her out and about, say “hi!”
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