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  • Ashlyn Halstead

Better Together: One HC+M Supporting Reins of Life

Updated: Jan 26

At HC+M, we know that our work in the communities we serve expands beyond construction projects. We build relationships within our Heritage family and give back to organizations who serve our community and our very own team members. We are proud to share how Milestone Contractors, Asphalt Materials, Inc. and US Aggregates came together to support Reins of Life in Michigan City, Indiana. 


Reins of Life is a therapeutic horseback riding facility that aims to improve the quality of life for children and adults with disabilities through equine-assisted therapy. Many wonderful things happen at Reins of Life every day: glimpses of miracles, doses of hope and a hearty amount of comfort. 




Milestone General Superintendent Brian Hardin and his son Luke have been weekly visitors of the program for the past eight years. Luke is non-verbal autistic and seeing the horses is the highlight of his week. Since he was four, the generous staff at Reins of Life have helped him connect with and take care of the animals. At times, the staff has even helped Luke complete homework and practice spelling words. 


Last year on a routine visit to Reins of Life, Brian started to think about how he could give back to an organization who has done so much for his family. He went to Milestone Area Manager Dave Koyzra to tell him about the partnership opportunity. Once Dave heard Brian’s testimony and learned more about the organization, he agreed it was an effort they should pursue. Brian worked with Reins of Life Executive Director Dorota Janik to develop a list of facility improvements that would enhance the experience for participants and make tasks easier for volunteers.  


In order to support Reins of Life as much as possible, Dave reached out to US Aggregates Director of Business Development Caleb Brown and Asphalt Materials, Inc. (AMI) Regional Sales Manager Dave Rassel for support. Without hesitation all three HC+M businesses were on board to help.  


With backing from AMI and US Aggregates, Milestone completed two major projects for Reins of Life:  Improve the horse feeding area and the walkways to get to them. Reins of Life depends on volunteers to help run their facility and many had to trench through mud in the current conditions. This caused them to lose hay and horse feed to the ground, eating up a ton of resources and money.  


To help improve these conditions, our team identified four areas where the horses gathered. They excavated the dirt, put a layer of woven fabric down and then placed US Aggregates 53” stone gravel on top. After that, Aglime was placed to help protect the horses’ hooves. The improvements will have high impact on stopping erosion of the grounds, the volunteering experience, as well as the health and comfort of our equine partners. With the improvements, volunteers do not have to trench through the mud in paddocks and loose boots, and horses hoof health improves.  Each paddock has a shed for horses to use as protection from sun and inclement weather. Wet conditions can be harmful for horses standing in water or mud for extended periods of time, it is not healthy for obvious reasons and causes hoof and leg problems. Before our crew laid US Aggregates stone and Aglime volunteers and staff were getting stuck on a regular basis, losing boots, and falling creating a safety issue while handling over 1000lb animal. We are extremely grateful we were able to update the facility for the health and safety for all!


Milestone's crew and finished work at Reins of Life Michigan City, Indiana.


“I get a thank you every time I walk through the door, even the volunteers come up and thank us,” -Brian Hardin, Milestone General Superintendent said. “They are so beyond excited with what we were able to accomplish.” 

Without uniting as One HC+M, we wouldn’t have been able to help this amazing organization. Thank you to all our team members at US Aggregates, Milestone and AMI for coming together to give back to our community.  


“With amazing support from volunteers and friends like you, we are able to build confidence, increase independence and improve the well-being of so many,” said Dorota Janik. “We are so extremely grateful for the work, the materials and care to lend a hand in making this incredible gift to us.” 


A special thank you to Milestone Project Manager Jeff Briggs who managed the project while we performed the work and to the crew, Steve Reed, Nathan Szot, and Tim Kazmierzak who were out in winter conditions to get this done.


To learn more about Reins of Life organization watch the video below to see a day in the life at their facility!


Learn more and get involved with Reins of Life, Inc. by visiting their website: https://www.reinsoflife.org/ 

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