If you have any concrete or PVC culverts in any condition, disabled veteran John Hardee could really use them to close drainage ditches and create more pastureland on his James City farm. He’s working to transform that farm, left to him by his father, into a rescue for horses that will provide an informal therapeutic environment for disabled veterans and others.
“I’m looking to do some sort of rescue for horses and other animals. But it’s not only for the horses. I want to work with veterans’ groups, PTSD groups, and Wounded Warriors.” The rescue plans to offer the same services to children with emotional needs, learning disabilities, and brain injuries.
Hardee has the right background and sees the community need. “I was raised with every livestock imaginable. I’ve also worked with other rescues with dogs and other animals. But we need something for large animals as well as we need some of those animals for our wounded warriors and more.”
Hardee says that at first the environment will be an informal one but welcomes collaboration. “If therapists want to join and donate time, I am not opposed to that,” Hardee said.
The large farm is partially developed but has been ransacked by thieves. “The first thing is get it cleaned up and to get overgrown pastures cut and growing again,” Hardee said. “The culverts and tiles are to be able to close drainage ditches to give more grazing area.”
Hardee wants this program to honor the memory of his parents, Bettye Gresham Hardee and John B. Hardee, both of whom loved New Bern. “My mom taught school at Brinson Memorial. My dad was retired Navy and had several farms. When he passed, he left me the last remaining one.” Hardee sees the program as a lasting testament to his parents’ legacy of community service. “It is the ultimate best use of the land. So many veterans need that little extra something.”
In addition to culverts, Hardee needs sponsors, funding, and help with fundraising.
You can reach Hardee via email or call 252-259-1606.
By Randy Foster