I met Dr. Margo Rita Capparelli (Margo) in Kuwait where we both worked at Army Education Centers. Our students were service members on their way either to or from Iraq. That was nearly ten years ago and now she's one of my nearest and dearest friends. We've been there for each other through births, deaths, marriages and a host of other life altering events. Through the ups and downs we've cried on each other's shoulder and been each other's rock.
Margo has more college degrees than anyone I have ever met, but she's also one of the most humble, kind and considerate people I've ever known. I've observed her change careers over the years from college professor, to Vet Center counselor, to crisis hotline responder and now to Equinox Ranch Founder, and President of the Board.
After being hospitalized twice for behavioral health issues, part of my treatment plan is to list people I will contact if I'm in crisis. Margo is at the top of that list, whether near or far, she's a calming force that I can count on. She not only listens but she hears me, she gets it. As a service-connected disabled veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), it is vital to have resources and outlets that cater to veteran's invisible wounds.
When she first mentioned creating a program that provides a safe haven for combat veterans with PTSD, I knew she was a natural and I wanted to help in anyway possible. She developed a the program based on her experience as a professor on down range military bases, a Vet Center counselor, and a crisis hotline responder. In all three positions she dealt with combat veterans with PTSD. She realized the current methods being offered to combat veterans with PTSD were severely lacking and in dire need of reform.
Watching Margo's seed of an idea grow and develop into a existence is awe inspiring, breathtaking, and impressive! She has put her blood, sweat, tears, and money into making her Equinox Ranch dream a reality. It's still in its infancy but with the help of volunteers and donations it is very promising and will but extremely beneficial to combat veterans with PTSD.
It is my honor and privilege to actively support Equinox Ranch and to continue serving as one of it's original board members.
By Jeannette L. Sydnor-Thickening, USAF MSgt, Retired
Jeannette proudly served in the U.S. Air Force maintaining aircraft engines and aerospace ground equipment. While in the Air Force she earned her Bachelor’s degree.
Since retiring from the service, Jeannette has worked in the field of education as a third grade teacher and as an Education Service Specialist with the Department of Defense, connecting active duty members of the military with educational benefits. She has worked on many bases within the United States and courageously spent years in Kosovo, Kuwait and Afghanistan in order to ensure that deployed soldiers have counseling support for their educational careers.
Jeannette is a strong advocate for education and behavioral health services; she understands the power of retreats to heal, empower and re-energize veterans and is anxious to share that with veterans attending sessions at the ranch.
Education: Bachelor’s in Management Studies from University of Maryland; Master’s in Early Education from Adelphi University; Coursework in Counseling Psychology required for current counseling position from Bowie State University.