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Many hands help Dallas Center nonprofit get off the ground

"We are a faith-based equine therapy program. So we work with at-risk kids predominantly from this area," said Al Lorenzo, co-director of GodSpeed Equine.

DALLAS CENTER, Iowa — HL2: 

HL3: 

A project that was originally scheduled pre-COVID came into fruition over the weekend in Dallas Center. 

More than 100 volunteers from 20-plus congregations, many as far away as northeast Iowa, gathered to construct fencing for a new equine therapy facility for at-risk youth. 

It took almost 9,600 feet of fencing to install, along with 850 fence posts.

"The fence is flying up," said Al Lorenzo, co-director of GodSpeed Equine.

It was First Luterhan Church from Manchester, who, through a connection and some friends, heard about GodSpeed Equine's mission and decided to help out.

"We are a faith-based equine therapy program. So we work with at-risk kids predominantly from this area," Lorenzo said. "So it's an incredible teaching tool. And we see the kids really create connections and bonds with the horses and it's just incredibly special."

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"It’s just surreal. When we started having these conversations, the cynic in me said 'Why would a church in Manchester care about what we are doing down here?'" Lorenzo continued. "And then getting to know the folks, getting to know Pastor Tony [Ede] and the rest of the council, they just have a heart for helping kids and obviously they are gifted they know how to build a fence."

"This is going to be a very very big project. We've done other fencing projects in other parts of the world, and this one far exceeds all of those," Ede said. "These posts aren’t going to go away in ten years. They are going to be here blessing people and helping kids far after I’m long and gone. And we are very happy about that. We feel humbled and feel blessed to even be considered to be a part of this."

GodSpeed Equine hopes to be serving kids as soon as this October. 

"A lot of these people, the only connection is friends of friends," project manager Doran Zumbach said. "And when you think about everybody that's here that's doing it on their own free time  ... nobody is getting paid to do anything here today. I think that's pretty incredible in this day and age."

"In the world today obviously, there's a lot of division, there's a lot of negativity, there's a lot of things we can point to that aren't right," Lorenzo said. "And then you see a project like this happens, and just to me, it just restores my faith in people and it just restores my faith and in what direction we're headed."

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