Horse Haven back in the saddle

SouthEast Bank and Horse Haven representatives commemorate a recent truck donation and repair. From left, are SouthEast Bank’s Brett Hurst, Horse Haven’s Robin Hoffman and Becky Moses, SouthEast Bank’s Bill Thompson and Horse Haven’s Denise Pennington, Lee Williams, Ashley Ford and Nina Margetson.

Horse Haven was recently in dire straights after the Lenoir City nonprofit’s work truck broke down on Interstate 40.

The older truck, which had been regularly maintained, was on its “last leg,” Ashley Ford, operations manager, said.

“It has been all over the state and hauled hundreds of horses back and forth to our barn, their safe haven and we put a lot of money into the truck to keep it (going),” Ford said. “... We were hauling horses and then it broke down on the side of the road. We had another truck come in to hook up to the trailer first, though our volunteer safety was No. 1 and the horse safety was No. 1 as well, so we got the horse off the highway first and the volunteers pushed the truck forward so one of our volunteers’ truck could get in there to tow it off the side of the road.”

Horse Haven, which rehabilitates abused and injured horses across Tennessee, sought donations on social media to help with repairs.

SouthEast Bank stepped in, bringing the nonprofit a 2020 Ford. The truck was officially donated to Horse Haven on July 14.

“I mean it was a huge blessing, and their bank president had reached out and said that they would love to help,” Ford said. “... We have never driven a truck with a warranty, and it still smells new, and it’s really nice and fancy. We know 1,000% we are safe getting on the road. We don’t even think twice about it.”

The bank also paid for repairs to the 2005 truck.

“As a local bank, we understand the importance of being there for our neighbors,” Bill Thompson, SouthEast Bank CEO, said in a press release. “When our executive management team learned what happened to Horse Haven’s truck, their first question was, ‘What can we do to help make them operational immediately?’ That day, the decision was made to gift Horse Haven a truck so they could immediately resume their incredible work.”

Ford said the donation was a “tremendous gift.”

“We’re just eternally grateful to SouthEast Bank and their generosity,” she said.