ALCOVA Mortgage, LLC is honoring New Freedom Farm owner Lois Fritz of Buchanan as a 2017 Hometown Hero.

Since 2014, ALCOVA Mortgage has recognized veterans across its 10-state service area for their dedication to the country by honoring them with a plaque and a $500 check.

Fritz served the country in the US Navy as an E-5 Petty Officer Second Class for eight years. Honored with the National Defense Service Medal, Expert Rifle Medal, and the Marksman Pistol Ribbon, Fritz will be the first to tell you that she is not a hero. “Heroes are our true war veterans who were injured in action and live with the war inside their heads,” she says.

After leaving the US Navy, Fritz embarked on a nursing career and became an Emergency Room Charge Nurse. She later became a Forensic Nurse for the Warren County Prosecutor’s Office, and today, practices in Roanoke as a Forensic Nurse Examiner.

She moved to Buchanan from New Jersey in 2015 with a goal in mind. She wanted to establish a non-profit organization to serve military veterans suffering from PTSD, depression, anxiety, trauma and substance abuse. A year later in October 2016, she opened the doors to New Freedom Farm on Lithia Road in Buchanan.

“I founded the program because I wanted to share with veterans the healing power horses have,” says Fritz. “In our country, 22 veterans a day commit suicide. Studies have shown that interacting with an animal, such as a horse, can be very helpful and calming to those suffering from PTSD.”

Not only is the farm a place for healing humans, but it is also a place dedicated to providing a safe haven for its horses. Currently, the farm is home to 19 horses that have experienced their own versions of fear and trauma, many of them being abandoned to auctions attended by kill buyers.

New Freedom Farm gives these horses a second chance to lead a fulfilled life and help veterans deal with deep issues with isolation, communication, and trust.

ALCOVA Mortgage is proud to honor Lois Fritz and her service to her country and the veterans in her community by naming her as one of their 2017 Hometown Heroes, and announcement from the company says.

Branch Partner Jamie Bailey from the ALCOVA Mortgage Office in Vinton will present the award to Fritz on Friday, May 12 at noon at New Freedom Farm.