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Animal-assisted therapy organization celebrates 10 years of helping those with special needs

March 24, 2014 | 0 comments

FOND DU LAC

March was an amazing month for the folks at Whisper Hill Clydesdales Special Needs Foundation.

On March 22, this nonprofit animal-assisted therapy organization celebrated 10 years in Fond du Lac with an opportunity to meet some of the therapy animals, a visit from Flight for Life, presentations by the Eden Fire Department and much more.

Whisper Hill Clydesdales is committed to providing individuals the opportunity to reach their full potential for personal growth and fulfillment with the aid of horses and farm animals. The program offers safe interaction between people and animals in a structured setting.

The organization was inspired by Tom Wiskow, executive director of Whisper Hill, who said it all began with a childhood dream of having a pony for his 50th birthday in 1976. His family lived on a farm, and he was promised a pony, but before he could get one, his parents' house burned to the ground in March of 1977. The family moved to the city of Fond du Lac and Wiskow never not his pony.

Nineteen years later, his parents bought land in the town of Forest where he finally got a horse.

He admits Clydesdales weren't the type of horses he originally wanted, but they were just what he needed to begin his move toward his dream of providing horse-drawn wagon rides for people with special needs and residents of nursing homes.

Encouraged by a friend, he began Whisper Hill in July 2004.

Saturday's anniversary celebration drew several hundred people and a multitude of donations for the silent auction and raffle that was part of the event.

"We had an amazing time," Wiskow said. "We also hope you did and would like to say thank you so very much for all those who attended. Also, a huge 'thank you' to everyone that participated in some way or another, whether it be Eden for the fire trucks or the Flight for Life crew for bringing in a helicopter. We also thank everyone at The Shack Sports Bar and Event Center for making our event a huge success."

Recent truck presentation

Earlier in March, Whisper Hill Clydesdales was presented with a new Toyota Tundra pickup truck after being named a winner in Toyota's "100 Cars for Good," a national philanthropic program. Toyota awarded 100 cars to 100 nonprofits in a recent online contest.

Wiskow said 1,000 nonprofits applied for the contest, and Toyota narrowed the applications to 250 finalist organizations. From there, five finalists competed for popular votes via a dedicated Facebook application. The two organizations receiving the most eligible votes at the end of the day were deemed the winners and offered the opportunity to choose from one of five available Toyota vehicles. The three runners-up received $1,000 grants for their respective organizations.

Whisper Hill was presented the new vehicle at Bergstrom Toyota.

The new truck was on hand at the event. It will be used to pull the animal transportation trailer for hauling therapy animals to clients. The trailer will be purchased with funds raised at the 10th anniversary celebration.

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