During their typical work days, the members of Carpenters Local 290 find themselves traveling to projects all across Long Island. Some are currently working on the New York Islanders’ new arena in Belmont. Some worked at the construction of Peconic Bay Medical Center’s new addition. Others spend time at Stony Brook University.
On Saturday morning, a group of carpenters volunteered on their day off to work at Calverton’s Warrior Ranch Foundation.
The site off Edwards Avenue was once home to the Beagle Club before Suffolk County acquired the property in 2012. Last year, the county announced a 10-year lease agreement with the Warrior Ranch Foundation, an organization founded in 2016 that works for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
The carpenters are working pro bono to restore the former dog kennels into horse stalls.
On a chilly morning Saturday, the volunteers were busy framing the stalls that will be used by three horses and a tack room for feed and gear.
“We’re just donating our time, it’s what we do,” said George Salzmann, who was working alongside his son George. “It’s a great cause.”
Mr. Salzmann said after the agreement between the county and foundation was announced, they thought it would be a great opportunity to get involved. They’ve volunteered on other projects as well, such as building a home for Habitat for Humanity, he said.
The goal is to start bringing horses into the stables in April.
“We’ll be in good shape by then,” Mr. Salzmann said.
The foundation helps veterans and first responders through equine therapy, providing opportunities to groom, feed and exercise horses to facilitate healing. The ranch also focuses on rehabilitating horses for adoption and providing new training for aging and retired racehorses.
The foundation’s move to the Calverton site was made official in October.
“Equine-assisted therapy has been proven to reduce the systems of PTSD,” Eileen Shanahan, the president of Warrior Ranch, said in October. “And whether its due to neglect or retiring from a show performance career, there are over 100,000 unwanted horses in the United States.”