Laurie Willmott
Executive Director, Founder & CEO

Laurie's Bio

Laurie is a bright bubbly blonde who grew up in Minnesota loving children and adoring horses. Although she didn't have a horse of her own until she was well into adulthood, she knew that somehow she had to combine her two passions in a way that would help the world become a better place. First and foremost a mother and grandmother, Laurie's natural sense of nurture is just one of the attributes she brings to Spirit Therapies. She is entirely invested not only in children's recovery and therapy, but also in their day-to-day lives. Every rider has a special place in Laurie's heart, and if you look closely, it's not uncommon to see a tear fall from her eyes when one of "her kids" has a breakthrough is a session.

Before establishing Spirit Therapies in 2002, Laurie was a hairstylist for 25 years. In fact she'll give styling and dying tips if you ask her!

When Laurie retired the scissors and her long-time husband Jeff retired from the Clark County Detention Center, she saw an opportunity to make a change in her life that could potentially better the lives of hundreds of children in the Las Vegas Valley. She began volunteering at a small program in North Las Vegas that specialized in physical and mental therapy on horseback. There she met Chad Nolan, a boy with severe brain damage. Chad's bright smile inspired her and she registered with the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association. When the program in North Las Vegas closed, Chad's mother called Laurie and asked her if Chad could continue to ride. That was when she started Spirit Therapies. First in the backyards of friends with horse property and finally at the current location at her home located just off Lone Mountain Road in Las Vegas. In 2012 Spirit Therapies celebrates it's 10th year and Laurie is excited about the organization's progress. Her ultimate goal is to run the program entirely off of donations so that no family has to pay for this therapy.