At 1,400 pounds, the Hank is no small thing.
From his bright smile to his big heart, he has a way of spreading joy and inspiring those who meet him.
That was certainly the case Monday afternoon as people gathered around Doylestown Borough’s Broad Commons Park, full of smiles, waiting their turn to greet the horse with a gentle pat on the face and a quick selfie.
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The visit was a stop along the way for Hank and his crew before they headed to Times Square in New York City the next morning to officially kick off Giving Tuesday in support of the Salvation Army.
“Horses have the power to heal, to inspire compassion in people, and that compassion inspires action. We teach lessons about giving, and we’re happy to be able to travel to do that,” said Tammi Jo Regan, Hank’s mother and owner.
It was a message he learned quickly more than a decade ago when he met Hank.
Regan was visiting Kentucky when he found and rescued the neglected and starving Tennessee Walking horse 11 years ago. He was three years old and weighed only 600 pounds at the time.
“The day I met Hank, alone in a muddy pasture, was the day I became an equestrian,” said Regan, a Doylestown entrepreneur and business consultant with no previous experience with horses.
“It took seven months to get him well enough to travel with him to Bucks County,” she said.
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Back home in Doylestown, Regan founded For Hank’s Sake, initially as a corporation before gaining nonprofit status in 2018. It has since expanded and relocated to Paris, Kentucky, where today it includes more than 80 horses, and Hank is represented as a brand ambassador.
The organization is committed to saving neglected and unwanted horses while harnessing their strength and beauty to inspire and encourage children.
Hank visits libraries, schools and charity events across the country, bringing happiness to children through books while raising funds for charity along the way. During five years as a public service horse, Hank raised more than $41,000 for several organizations, including the $25,000 he raised for the Salvation Army.
“Being able to go back to our hometown where it all started, we’ve come full circle and it feels really good,” Regan said of the visit to Doylestown. “It has such a bookmark feel here, so what better place to stop during the holidays.”
Hank has been a ringer for four years, but this will be his first national appearance and a visit to Times Square.
“Our message is really about second chances,” Regan said. “He was an abandoned horse. So many people feel left out. Our nation’s most vulnerable need our help right now, and Hank is a champion of hope and joy.”
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