Tester Announces More Than $136,000 in Adaptive Sports Grants for Disabled Veterans in Montana

VA awards $88,500 to Horses Spirits Healing, Inc. in Billings and $47,600 to DREAM Adaptive Recreation, Inc. in Whitefish

U.S. Senator Jon Tester today announced $136,100 has been awarded by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to help disabled veterans in Montana improve their independence, well-being, and quality of life through adaptive sports and therapeutic arts programs in Billings and Whitefish.

“When our nation’s veterans return home with seen and unseen wounds of war, we have an obligation to ensure they have a path toward recovery and can participate in programs that are adapted for their disabilities,” said Tester. “These resources will boost the quality of life of those who served by helping them participate in more activities in their communities.”

Funding is provided under VA’s Adaptive Sports Grant Program, which provides grants across the country to support veteran mental health. Of the total, $88,500 has been awarded to Horses Spirits Healing, Inc., a nonprofit organization outside of Billings that specializes in equine therapy for veterans. $47,600 has been awarded to Disabled Recreation Environmental Access Movement (DREAM) Adaptive Recreation, Inc. in Whitefish, an organization that helps enhance the quality of life of individuals with disabilities by providing year-round outdoor adaptive recreational opportunities.

“Horses Spirits Healing appreciates the confidence placed in us by VA Adaptive Sports through this grant—the fifth consecutive one we’ve received,” said Horses Spirits Healing co-founder Barbara Skelton. “This funding allows us to continue to build and deliver the programs our veterans utilize to improve and change their lives. It works because of the support from our elected officials, the referrals, and from local VA Clinic staff. The dedicated veterans who participate, the steady hands of our staff, and support from our local and regional donors keeps us moving forward. It is truly a team effort, and we thank Senator Tester for his efforts.”

As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and Ranking Member of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Tester has continuously fought to increase funding for adaptive recreation opportunities for disabled veterans. Earlier this year, he sent letters of support to VA, urging the Department to award these critical funds to support Montana’s veteran population. VA awarded 119 grants to national, regional, and community programs across the country that provide these services.