Clambake will help with mission to create ranch for former military members

Clambake will help with mission to create ranch for former military members

Casey Cianci, at right, founder and president of 13 Stripes stands with Karen Dalton of Dare to Dream Ranch. Cianci will be holding a fundraiser to benefit the ranch, which helps veterans overcome situations with the help of equine therapy and other alternative treatments. The event will include a classic car show, and the vehicle pictured was provided by Cianci Classic Cars of Providence. (Valley Breeze photo by Sandy Seoane)

NORTH SMITHFIELD - Since his return from service in Iraq in 2012, 22-year-old combat veteran Casey Cianci has noticed that there's limited support available for soldiers returning home.

With many suffering from severe depression and high rates of homelessness, post-traumatic stress disorder and even suicide, veterans, Cianci noted, seemed to have few places to turn beyond conventional medicine to cope with the emotional scars of war.

It's a problem Karen Dalton, executive director of Rhode Island Academy of Family Physicians, is all too familiar with.

"The medical field doesn't necessarily believe in holistic and alternative approaches," said Dalton. "We're having a lot of veterans coming back and being over-medicated. Then you have addiction issues, and all these other things that come with that."

Dalton, a Foster resident, has founded Dare to Dream Ranch with the goal of using holistic and alternative programs to help former military members and their families. Dalton hopes to transform the lives of U.S. veterans "by providing a multifaceted equine-assisted therapy to help them learn how to manage current situations and future challenges."

She has her sights set on a 125-acre horse farm in Foster, where she hopes to offer 12-week retreats with access to everything from job training programs to yoga, cooking classes, horticulture therapy, Reiki, reflexology and massage.

"It takes 90 days to create a habit, so we want to give them those 90 days," she said. "Physical activity is a natural antidepressant."

Dalton is already getting referrals from the state Veterans Affairs office, and is outsourcing much of the work to others, while utilizing a single horse at Hilltop Equestrian Center in Foster.

The need, and demand for such programs, she says, is great.

"Veterans are asking for alternatives. They want programs like what we're going to offer here. The funding will go to purchase our own facility and to bring all of our programs under one roof," Dalton said.

Around two months ago, Cianci, a North Smithfield native, founded 13 Stripes, an organization with a complimentary mission: raising money and awareness for veterans' causes.

"I was looking for organizations in Rhode Island that helped local veterans. I just didn't feel that there was enough support or awareness of what veterans are going through when they're coming home," Cianci said.

"There is nationally, but locally, there's not that tight-knit support group."

Cianci served out of an Army helicopter unit from Quonset from 2011 to 2012.

"I've seen a lot of people experience PTSD and a couple suicides in the unit," he said. "That's where this really started."

On Sunday, Aug. 23, 13 Stripes will hold its first fundraiser: a clambake in Narragansett to benefit Dalton's ranch.

In the short time he's been on the mission, the young veteran has gone about planning the event with the type of attention to detail and precision one learns through military training, securing a massive seafood feast entirely through donations, plus an open bar, car show, raffles, silent auction, activities and entertainment.

The event will feature a raw bar by Matunuck Oyster Bar; clamcakes and chowder by George's of Galilee; vegetables by Sunset Farms of Narragansett; lobster or barbecue chicken, mussels and clams by B&M Catering; calamari by Arturo Joes; a beer and wine bar courtesy of McLaughlin and Moran Inc. and O'Neil's Package Store, and ice cream provided by Lakewood Ice Cream.

The band Take it to the Bridge will perform at the fundraiser, which is sponsored by Narragansett Property Management and Experience Real Estate. Cianci has even secured a donated tent so the event can still go on in case of rain

The clambake will be held at Kinney Bungalow at 505 Point Judith Road in Narragansett from 1 to 5 p.m. and tickets cost $75. They can be purchased at veteranclambake.com and are also available at a number of Narragansett businesses including Sunset Farm at 505 Point Judith Road; Narragansett Property Management at 140 Point Judith Road Suite c-32; O'Neils Package Store at 366 S. Pier Road; and George's of Galilee at 250 Sand Hill Cove Road. Donations can also be made to 13 Stripes directly through both the website and participating businesses.

Questions can be directed to Cianci at 401-855-0347.

Comments

Rah!

Oorah

See you there !

Craig A. Charbonneau
United States Marine Corps Veteran.
Life Member, Disabled American Veterans.

Semper Fidelis

The clambake fundraiser is also posted and promoted below and on our Facebook and Twitter Accounts RIRepublcans.us Here is a link to the Event Calendar: http://rirepublicans.us/event/1st-annual-narragansett-veteran-clambake/

Thank you.