PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) - A Region 8 lottery winner is one step closer to his dream of opening an equine therapy center in Northeast Arkansas.
Darek Tyler won $50,000 back in March through the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery.
After winning, Tyler said he would start working towards his dream of connecting people and animals.
"People are going to come out and work with animals, it could be horses, dogs, or other animals," Tyler said.
Four months after receiving his lottery winnings, Tyler purchased land for the equine center, bringing him a step closer to his dream.
Tyler recently purchased two acres of land just outside of Paragould on Greene County Road 818.
Once the land is cleared, Tyler will start building the Paragould Equine Therapy Center.
"That is the goal of this is to make your dreams come true," Tyler said. "It doesn't matter what is going on in your life we can forget about that, and we can focus on the other things."
Tyler said it will be a place for veterans and others looking for some peace.
"We will be working with people with PTSD, drug abuse, and autism," Tyler said.
Tyler and his cousin have started clearing the land he purchased, but it has not been easy.
"My cousin and I were clearing it by chainsaws, and we have gone through five chainsaws," Tyler said.
He said he is working on other ways to clear the land quickly so he can get to work on the actual center.
Tyler said he knows firsthand how animals can help people going through a tough time or those who have trouble opening up.
"I worked with autism kids, and it showed me working with autism kids and putting them with animals they really open up," Tyler said.
However, Tyler said he wants to focus on helping veterans as well because they give so much to this country.
"They leave their families they go out and have to fight for us," Tyler said. "They fight for freedom and sometimes they don't come back, or they come back and have PTSD or missing limbs."
Tyler said the Glenn Wilcoxson Veteran Center has reached out to him with an interest in the project.
The Wilcoxson Center is another organization working to find ways to help veterans in need.
"They said you know what this would actually be a really good idea, and we would like to work together," Tyler said.
The Wilcoxson Center told Tyler they would be willing to help get veterans out to the location so they can enjoy what the center has to offer.
"They are going to be driving them, picking them up, and taking them out here," Tyler said. "So it is going to be a really good partnership."
Tyler is excited to see his dream start to come together,
He told Region 8 News he cannot thank his realtor Paula Moore enough for her help in finding such a perfect location.
"It is nice and peaceful and really quiet," Tyler said.
Tyler said once the center is complete he encourages anyone to come out and enjoy what they have to offer.
"Just come out, it doesn't matter who you are just come out and look at it and see if you like it and if you do then keep coming back," Tyler said.
Tyler also told Region 8 News the paperwork to make Paragould Equine Therapy Center a non-profit organization is complete and he hopes to have final approval by the end of the month.
Tyler said he is also always welcoming volunteers to help, especially anyone wanting to help clear the land right now.
If you would like to volunteer, contact Tyler at 602-885-2125.
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