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Judy Harter shows some affection to Eden, an Arabian Mare used in Divine Equine - a horse therapy program for combat veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Judy Harter shows some affection to Eden, an Arabian Mare used in Divine Equine - a horse therapy program for combat veterans with Post Traumatic Stre...
Judy Harter and her ďfellaĒ KJ Leibee, a disabled Vietnam veteran show off Eden, one of the horses used to provide therapy for combat veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Each veteran receives five two-hour sessions with an equine therapist and a volunteer PTSD combat veteran. ďThe sessions are supposed to be two hours, but the always run over,Ē Harter said with a laugh.
Judy Harter and her ďfellaĒ KJ Leibee, a disabled Vietnam veteran show off Eden, one of the horses used to provide therapy for combat veterans with Po...
Apollo, a descendent of 1973 Triple Crown winner Secretariat, bows his head for a good scratch from Judy Harter, co-founder of All From The Heart. Apollo is one of two horses used in Equine Divine, a program that falls under the nonprofitís umbrella, providing horse therapy to combat veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Apollo, a descendent of 1973 Triple Crown winner Secretariat, bows his head for a good scratch from Judy Harter, co-founder of All From The Heart. Apo...
KJ Leibee, a 100 percent disabled Vietnam Veteran who volunteers with Divine Equine, puts Eden through her paces.
KJ Leibee, a 100 percent disabled Vietnam Veteran who volunteers with Divine Equine, puts Eden through her paces.

One womanís journey affects lives of many


Friday, May 9th, 2014
Issue 19, Volume 18.
Kim Harris
Special to the Valley News


When it comes to strong women making a difference, many names come to mind. Maya Angelou, Oprah Winfrey and even Madonna have all championed causes to empower people in their local communities and around the world. While there are many women who work tirelessly on thousands of causes to make the world a better place, in honor of Motherís Day, The Valley News decided to take a look at one local woman whose efforts make a difference in the lives of many. That woman is Judy Harter, one of the co-founders of All From The Heart, a 501(c)3 supporting disabled veterans not just in the Temecula Valley but all of Southern California.

Harter, a former ballet teacher, moved to Temecula from Seattle, Washington in 1989 to start her life over after a divorce from her husband of 20 years.

"I was an hour from San Diego, I was an hour from Disneyland, I was an hour from Palm Springs and an hour from dipping my feet in the ocean," she said. "Itís worked out really well."

Harter started All From The Heart along with Kelly Shirey who owns Premier Marketing and Valley Events, 11 years ago.

"We werenít doing enough for the (military) families," she said. "I am very patriotic and I am grateful for my freedoms. Now we have to take care of our vets, we just donít do enough. I have known Vietnam vets since I was 20-years-old and they didnít get welcomed home or taken care and they still donít. Itís the same with our Korean vets. Itís the forgotten war."

Harter, a mother of four grown children, now has three programs under the All From The Heart umbrella, Support Our Troops which helps to provide Christmas for active duty service members and their families, the Wheels for Warriors Project providing wheelchairs for disabled veterans and Divine Equine providing horse therapy for veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). All four of her kids grew up taking part and volunteering with the different programs.

"They were raised in it," she said. "They have been volunteers since the very beginning."

Harter, who was named Riverside Woman of the Year for the Third District in 2012 and was the recipient of the Joan Sparkman Unity Award in 2013, said she believes itís important to honor the sacrifices of the military. All From The Heart allows her to do that while providing support services to those in need.

"There is never going to be enough done for what they have done for us. I think we take things like our freedoms for granted and thatís not ok," she said. "This is the Lordís plan, he has his hand on this in a big way and there is no greater honor than to be used Advertisement
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as a vessel by the Lord."

In the current economy sometimes things can be tough for nonprofit agencies, but Harter says there is always support when she needs it, either from her 94-year-old mother Jeanne or her partner of seven years or "fella" as she likes to call him, KJ Leibee, who is a 100 percent disabled Vietnam veteran due to PTSD.

"He spent 40 years isolated at 9,000 feet in New Mexico. He came off the mountain because his mom stroked, met me, stepped in and Wheels for Warriors was born. Heís all about giving back," Harter said. "Itís my fella, me, a pick-up truck and a side yard."

Harter said all of the programs offered continue to grow as the need for services to the veterans continues to grow. During the first year, Support Our Troops served only eight families but in 2013, 44 families were included in the annual holiday party held at Quaid Temecula Harley-Davidson. Each member of the different families received $100 worth of gifts based on a wish list and every child in attendance received a bicycle or tricycle with their name on it.

Currently there are 17 names on the waiting list for a power wheelchair under the Wheels for Warriors Program and there is no shortage of veterans who are in need. The program just gifted its 215th wheelchair on Monday, May 5.

"We pick up used power chairs, to date recycling over $80,000 worth of medical equipment. We refurbish them and put in new batteries, shine them up and gift them," Harter said. "All 215 of our recipients have been denied chairs by the VA."

The need for PTSD treatment also continues to grow and Divine Equine meets that need, currently serving 25 veterans who have all been vetted for the program that uses a pair of horses, Eden and Apollo, a descendent of Secretariat, to help them cope with the issues they face. The horses are owned by Bonsall resident and therapist Michelle

Price.

"One hundred percent of our vets come from the Temecula Vets Center," said Harter. "They are in therapy. They know they have PTSD and they want to get better so they come out and work with the horses and the therapists and KJ and their lives change."

Working on a project of this magnitude can be tiring at times but Harter said the end result is always worth the effort.

"I love the giving back part and honestly being grateful for our freedoms kept running through my veins. I think it was just a good fit; I have to say it was a divine appointment. Itís just what I am supposed to do," she said.

For more information on All From The Heart or to make a donation, visit www.allfromtheheart.org.


 

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