Hope and healing: Mane Support opens Grief Center on anniversary of nation’s tragedy
By Melanie Tucker | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
With friends and supporters gathered around her Wednesday morning, Mane Support founder Kim Henry marked the anniversary of this country’s darkest day with an offering of hope and healing.
Henry held the grand opening of Mane Support’s Grief Center on the farm property on Davis Ford Road in Maryville. Close to 50 were in attendance as the ribbon-cutting ceremony took place.
Mane Support uses horses in its grief counseling services aimed at children and adults. Henry founded the ministry in 2006.
“I am speechless, and for me that’s pretty big,” Henry told those gathered at the center. “I can’t think of a better day to dedicate the center to all of you and to all of our community than on a day that was so tragic for all of us.” We move forward and hope this will be a place of hope and healing for a lot of people. We want you to know this is your center.”
Henry asked everyone to hold hands as she cut the ribbon. “I don’t want to do this by myself,” she said. “I want us to cut it together.”
Mane Support has 10 horses in its grief counseling program that aims to help children, teens and adults get over the loss of a loved one. There is no riding involved as counselors and equine experts work with families and individuals needing to heal. The new Grief Center is located in the home Henry once owned. She has turned it over to Mane Support.
Henry has a master’s degree in therapeutic recreation, a master’s in inclusive early childhood special education, and is a member of the American Academy of Bereavement. Additionally, she is certified as a grief counselor through the Association of Death, Education and Counseling. She is also a published author of “Hoof to Heart,” a guide to understanding grief and the healing power of horses.
She often is asked why horses are used in grief counseling. They are honest and live in the moment, she explains. Their size can also be a representation of the grief people are feeling.
Guests toured the center, which is the only one like it in Tennessee. It includes a large meeting area, kitchen and private counseling rooms, as well as large conference/board room and office. Henry and her board have been working on this transition for months.
The center will be able to provide counseling, grief and loss education and internships. Summer bereavement camps are held on the premises and several support groups tackling grief issues have been formed.
Mane Support has also entered into partnerships with Maryville College, Hiwassee College, the University of Tennessee, Johnson University, Horse Haven, Blount Memorial Hospital, local school systems and many others.
There is also a barn on the property and guests got to tour it as well. Then, as it got close to the actual time the first plane flew into the World Trade Centers on Sept. 11, 2001, a flag ceremony was held. Woodmen of the World presented the American flag and Tennessee flag to Mane Support. A prayer was also given and all present recited the Pledge of Allegiance. A flock of doves was released in remembrance of all that was lost in this country on that fateful day.
Henry said she felt it was appropriate to hold this grand opening on a day that has been filled with grief every Sept. 11 for the past 12 years. “Every time you drive by, know that this is your place and your flag,” she said.