Matt Perella and his horse, Buck, address the crowd at Triangle H Farm.

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EDWARDSVILLE - A man, a horse and a dog paused their cross-country travels for a fundraiser this weekend at Triangle H Farms.

The trio, known as the Three Amigos, have walked across the U.S. twice to raise awareness about PTSD in veterans. This weekend’s fundraiser benefited The Righteous Life Rescue Ranch, an organization that will connect veterans with rescued mustang horses and dogs.

“There’s a lot of animals that need to be rescued out there,” Matt Perella, who leads the Three Amigos, said. “And most importantly, there’s a lot of veterans that need to be rescued out there, as well.”

Perella is a former U.S. Marine and the founder of The Righteous Life Rescue Ranch. He has seen firsthand how animals can save lives; he speaks openly of how his rescue animals, a horse named Buck and service dog named Raffe, have saved him, many times over. The Righteous Life Rescue Ranch will do that for other people and the animals they plan to train to be equine therapy horses and service dogs.

The fundraiser at Triangle H Farm welcomed approximately 100 people. They were able to see the horses at the farm and learn more about Perella’s journey and goals. To raise awareness about PTSD and funds to open the ranch, Perella has traveled across the country twice on Buck, with Raffe trotting by his side.

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“In 14 months, we’ve traveled 6,000 miles,” Perella said. “America, you’re beautiful. And we’re so grateful for all the support you’ve given the Three Amigos towards the Righteous Life Rescue Ranch.”

He added that Buck is on target to break a record as the fastest horse to ever cross the country. On a good day, the Three Amigos cover 40 to 45 miles of ground. Grace Heepke, whose family owns Triangle H Farm, has traveled many of these miles alongside the Three Amigos as Perella’s horse driver.

The story has inspired a lot of people who resonate with Perella’s mission. Several organizations were in attendance this weekend, including Got Your Six Support Dogs, a Maryville-based organization that trains support dogs for veterans and first responders.

“It’s great to be able to give back,” James Castelli, who works with Quick Six Ranch, said. The ranch rescues horses and is in the process of starting an equine therapy program. “As a veteran who suffers from PTSD, equine therapy, I can tell you, 100% saves lives. It works.”

Perella often sees this in his travels. Many people have told him that Buck and Raffe have saved their lives, just by being able to touch the animals and connect with them for a few seconds. These interactions reinforce his commitment to the journey and the ranch.

“God put this on my heart to do this,” Perella said. “My absolute favorite part is seeing God’s hand all over this. Everywhere, there are signs that God is telling me to keep going, and He’s putting all the right people in my path. It couldn’t be more clear…My favorite part is seeing all the spirituality of this country come forward to keep this journey going, because the prayers are working.”

To learn more about the Three Amigos, click here. Check out the Triangle H Farm Facebook page to connect with the farm. For more information about the ranch, including how to donate, visit The Righteous Life Rescue Ranch website.

Raffe, Perella's service dog, was a

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