John T. Nash – Founder, Executive Director & Chairman of the Board
John is a Vietnam veteran. Born in Crookston, Minnesota, raised in Hibbing, Minnesota, John is currently residing at the Moon Falls Ranch, home of Combat Veterans Cowboy Up, in Elizabeth, Colorado. John has five children and 10 grandchildren. He served 2 years in the United States Army, 1 year in Viet Nam, and was honorably discharged as Specialist 5th Class. John has been trained and certified as an Equine Specialist. In facilitating Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP), the Equine Specialist teams together with a Mental Health Professional along with the third part of the team – the horses. John founded Combat Veterans Cowboy Up in February 2006 as a Colorado non-profit organization. He has supported other non-profits such as DAV, Red Cross, churches and youth organizations. As Founder/Executive Director, John serves Combat Veterans Cowboy Up in many capacities – Equine Specialist for EAP, guide, caretaker, public relations, spokesperson, fundraising and horse trainer. He teaches clients how a horse thinks and sees differently than we do and why they act and react the way they do.
“My personal goal working with Combat Veterans Cowboy Up is the same as Combat Veterans Cowboy Up’s mission statement – to establish a therapy program using Equine Assisted Psychotherapy for veterans with military-related PTSD, thereby helping to create a better quality of life for our mentally wounded heroes. EAP is a very powerful modality in the treatment of combat veterans suffering with mental health issues. Remember Combat Veterans Cowboy Up’s motto ~ We’re not out of the woods yet, but we’ve found the trail”
Ashley Vandeberghe – Secretary
Ashley completed her internship for her Bachelor’s in Psychology at Combat Veterans Cowboy Up in the summer of 2013. She loved the program so much that she wanted to stay on as a volunteer and a permanent part of CVCU’s vision. She became a part of the Board of Directors in June of 2015. She volunteers by co-facilitating the therapy sessions, caring for and training the horses, and as an administrator for the website and Facebook page.
Ashley has always had a passion for horses and grew up around them. During her internship, she learned about Natural Horsemanship and developed a unique bond with each of CVCU’s horses. “I got to know those horses so well,” she says, “I felt like I was becoming a member of the herd!” Her dream is one day to have horses of her own and run a program similar to CVCU, using the power of equines to provide growth and healing for America’s veterans.
Ashley is currently attaining her Master of Arts in Counseling through Adams State University and is expecting to graduate in the spring of 2017. She plans to stay with Combat Veterans Cowboy Up as their Mental Health Professional (MHP).