Our Story

Our founders

Gary, Sandy, and Laurie Weatherwax

LoveWay Projects, Inc. was founded by Gary and Sandy Weatherwax in 1973 in memory of their 16 year old daughter Laurie. While in high school, Laurie took a school trip to Augusta, Michigan to visit the Cheff Center. At that time, Cheff Center was the only therapeutic riding center in the United States.

It was from this visit that Laurie’s dream to help others with physical, mental, or emotional disabilities was born. Much of this came from her desire to help individuals like her father, who after suffering from a broken back in a car accident, was left a paraplegic. Laurie was very interested in bringing a program of therapeutic riding to Northern Indiana due to the fact that her father required a wheelchair, and could be able to ride again with the proper resources.

Soon after her visit to Cheff, Laurie took a trip to Africa where, unbeknownst to her parents, she contracted a fatal virus. Soon after her passing, Sandy and Gary founded LoveWay Projects, Inc in her memory.

They began by giving lessons in their driveway with the help of specially selected horses and volunteers. In 1990, the name was officially changed from LoveWay Projects, Inc. to LoveWay, Inc. 

In 2014, Sandy Weatherwax wrote a book, “Dancing In The Wind” which gives a very real look into the lives of herself, Gary, and Laurie. The book is filled with joy, laughter, sadness, and grief. Their “story” is a true adventure where you also discover the “L” and “W” in LoveWay are Laurie’s initials. 

In her book, Sandy states, “When harsh winds blow and you are not hanging on to God, he is hanging on to you. My heart and soul have been lifted through the years by the wonder and courage of the many beautiful students coming to LoveWay’s therapeutic horseback riding school. They are glorious examples of the true and simple joys of life. Walking up the hill to the LoveWay fields and arena, you know God is there. To participate in the miracles of challenged riders and faithful steeds, you know God is there”.

He is still here and more than 40 years later, LoveWay continues its mission with the help of more than 160 volunteers serving more than 350 riders each year. In total, more than 9,500 volunteer hours are given by this amazing community to empower individuals with disabilities.