Meet the Great American Heroes from Charleston, South Carolina

  • Mackie Moore

    Mackie Moore

    Rein & Shine

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    Three years ago Mackie took the reins (pun intended!) at Rein & Shine when the organization was at an all time low. There was very little money, a disjointed staff, and only 16 students and 20 volunteers. The doors almost closed. Mackie saw the incredible potential of this program and with the help of her two daughters (8 &10) she began the challenge of turning things around. Working 80 hour weeks they did EVERYTHING, from taking care of the horses, even staying up all night with sick animals and emergency vet visits, to mucking stalls, dragging fields, digging ditches, mending fences, clearing brush, you name it! Rein & Shine now have over 85 volunteers and more than 100 students, 70+ special needs children in our Therapeutic Riding Program and 30+ mainstream students in our Horsemanship Lesson Program. Rein and Shine was recently voted one of Charleston's top five non-profit organization. Through all this Mackie also found time to study to attain her pre-certification as a PATH (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International) Therapeutic Riding Instructor and am now in the final phase of accreditation. She teaches therapeutic classes whenever time permits and the "hands on" with the kids is the most rewarding aspect of Rein & Shine. Rein & Shine provides horseback riding therapy for children and adults with social, emotional, physical and cognitive disabilities. It's a nonprofit organization that also provides riding lessons for those who want to understand and appreciate horses. The people who come to Rein and Shine represent all ages and backgrounds. Most participants have varying degrees of cognitive, physical, behavioral, psychological and sensory disabilities. There is no "typical" Rein and Shine participant, as programs are designed to benefit individuals with a wide variety of disabilities.

  • Ron Acierno

    Ron Acierno

    Veterans on Deck

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    "Doctor Ron" is the director of the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder clinic at the Veterans hospital in Charleston and a professor of psychiatry at the Medical University of South Carolina. In his work at the clinic, Ron saw progress in his patients but was concerned they were still having trouble reintegrating into society. This led Ron to found Veterans On Deck. Veterans On Deck is a non-profit maritime initiative for veterans with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. VOD uses sailing as therapy to foster experiences of empowerment, mastery, and successful social interaction. The veterans work together as a team to overcome fear and build relationships to make the boat go. This not just taking vets sailing. VOD provides the boat and the opportunity, but the vets must learn to work together as a team to sail. "We need to get them out of the house and teach them to have fun again in a social setting," says Ron. A day sailing can be quite transformative; a vet that starts the day feeling stuck on a boat with strangers will inevitably end the day with a big smile on their face."

  • Katie Stagliano

    Katie Stagliano

    Katie's Krops

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    It all started when Katie receieved a cabbage seedling and it grew to be 40 pounds! She knew it needed to find a special home. Her mom contacted Fields to Families, a local organization that helps farmers get crops to organizations that feed the hungry. When she saw a huge line of people at Tri County Family Ministries (a local soup kitchen), waiting for what might be the only meal they would have that day, she wanted to do more. Katie started vegetable gardens and donated the harvest. Four years later Katie has donated thousands of pounds of fresh healthy food to families in need. She also hands out grants to kids who want to start their own Katie's Krop Garden. Katie hosts monthly dinners for needy families at a local church using the harvest from her gardens. She, her friends and their parents prepare and serve meals. She would like the dinners to happen more than once a month but needs to raise additional funds to make that happen. She will not compromise quality. Katie's community supports her dream of ending hunger, one garden at a time. She is a straight A student and works at least 30 hours a week growing Katie's Krops.