Valor Horses for Heroes 252-631-8150 2920 Trent Rd
New Bern, NC 28562
Get to know our treatment team!
Kenneth Palmer, MSW,
Founder + Clinical Therapist + Equine Specialist
Kenneth is the founder of Valor Horses for Heroes which is a practice providing specialized trauma therapy. Kenneth is an Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA) certified Mental Health Professional and Equine Specialist. Kenneth also carries an Individual Military Designation. Kenneth served on Active Duty in the United States Navy as an Independent Duty Corpsman for 15 year prior to leaving the military to begin graduate school. Kenneth spent most of his career caring for Marines in some of the most austere environments imaginable. While on active duty he deployed four times with Marine Corps units to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Sicily. Kenneth has also been a volunteer firefighter for over a decade and helped law enforcement officers in the past when they encountered individuals that were suffering from a potential mental health emergency to ensure they obtained the help they needed versus being incarcerated.
Kenneth understands firsthand the trauma that individuals can be subjected to and the importance of receiving quality mental health treatment. Kenneth believes that there is something unique and powerful in the unspoken bond between humans and horses. Kenneth has created a practice that is dedicated to helping people overcome the trauma that they have experienced in a client centered environment. Kenneth has worked extensively with active-duty personnel, veterans, firefighters, EMS personnel, law enforcement officers and victims of physical/sexual assault. Kenneth believes in the internal strength of individuals and their ability to overcome their past. Kenneth completed a Bachelor of Clinical Health Science degree from the George Washington University and then graduated from the University of New England with a Master of Social Work degree. Kenneth specializes in trauma treatment and has completed Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) training along with FLASH, and A-TIP techniques to reduce distress quickly and painlessly. Kenneth has completed a Post Graduate Trauma Certificate from the University of Tennessee.
Michael McClain, LCSW
Michael was born and raised in North Carolina. He obtained his bachelor’s degree from Florida State University with a focus in social work. He went on to obtain his Master’s Degree of Clinical Social Work from the University of South Florida while also serving in the United States Navy. Michael believes that people have the ability to be resilient, change, and overcome significant challenges with the right people and a supportive environment. Michael’s therapy focuses on helping individuals identify challenges and goals towards living the life they desire. Michael uses empirically based treatments in his therapeutic approach, and he has experience with a variety of issues such as: post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, behavioral issues, substance abuse, and relationship conflicts. While serving as a Navy medical officer Michael gained significant experience working with individuals with combat and sexual trauma. Michael works with children, adolescents, families, and adults. Michael is passionate about supporting individuals on their journey and he considers it an honor to be part of the discovery and healing process.
Casey Bennington, RVT, Fear-Free Certified Professional
Equine Specialist + Administrative Assistant
Casey is passionate about the unique healing power of horses, and has experienced it throughout her life. She began riding horses at 5 years of age. At 12, she began working with young horses doing groundwork and starting them under saddle, as well as working in the barn caring for the horses and property. At 14 Casey began teaching beginner riding lessons to children and adults. She competed as a youth in AQHA huntseat and western events, showmanship, and in high school expanded into reining and dressage. In college she rode for IHSA equestrian teams, was the western team captain for her school, and competed on the national level, while continuing to explore new disciplines in working cow horse, ranch horse versatility, and cutting. Casey continued to work as a professional throughout her young adult time teaching, training, exercising, and caring for horses and the people attached to them. She has gained experience in every discipline and with every breed that she has had the opportunity to work with, and believes you can learn something from every one and every horse. Casey became a Licensed Veterinary Technician in 2013 and has continued to work in small and large animal medicine since that time. She has judged the Georgia Special Olympics horse show and volunteered with various therapeutic horsemanship programs throughout the years. Now certified as a Fear Free Professional specializing in low-stress handling and training of animals, Casey continues to work as an animal professional and prides herself in ethical and effective horsemanship with a focus on improving the human-animal bond. Casey became EAGALA certified as an Equine Specialist in 2020 and is dedicated to helping others find healing through the unique power of horses.