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A Friendship, a Hurricane and a Lasting Tribute

horseshoe plaque with ribbon
The Gallop of Honor is a series of plaques bearing horseshoes and personalized inscriptions honoring horses that have been treated by the NC State equine veterinary service.

Brett Wu and Ashley Zibura became friends while on the rowing team at Brandeis University.  After graduation, they sailed off in distinctly different directions.

Zibura earned a doctor of veterinary medicine degree from Ohio State University and is now a resident in the ophthalmology service at the NC State Veterinary Hospital. Wu joined AmeriCorps, where he has managed disaster response to wildfires and assisted in tsunami and hurricane relief efforts.

Though now working in the private sector, Wu retains a deep commitment to disaster relief and public service. He often makes donations to charities and service organizations connected with his friends.

So when Hurricane Florence wreaked havoc throughout North Carolina, Wu was keenly aware of the needs of storm victims, including animals. He knew that veterinary medical professionals from NC State would be among those responding to the crisis.

Zibura was on call as the hurricane was lashing the state and was fighting her way through the wind and rain to work her shifts at the veterinary hospital. It wasn’t long before she heard from Wu, who wanted to support the relief efforts, including services for lost and injured animals.

“I knew that Ashley had a horse named Milky Way when she was growing up and that it had inspired her to go into veterinary medicine,” Wu says.

He decided that by honoring Milky Way with a plaque in the Gallop of Honor, he could also honor his friendship with Zibura and support the vital work being done at the veterinary hospital.

The Gallop of Honor recognizes a beloved horse, veterinarian or friend. With a donation of $250 or more to the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Foundation, a horseshoe and personalized plaque is hung on the Gallop of Honor wall at the NC State Farm and Equine Veterinary Medical Center or at the Equine Health Center at Southern Pines. The donation aids work that advances equine health.

“When I was about 12 or 13, Milky Way developed some eye problems and our veterinarian was able to help her,” says Zibura. “That is what made me want to specialize in ophthalmology.”

To capture your own unique story on the Gallop of Honor, go here.

A cause for paws… be a part of our #GivingPack on March 27! Your gift supports compassionate care for all animals and hands-on learning for vet students.

~Steve Volstad/NC State Veterinary Medicine