About Miracles in Motion
over 30 years serving our community
Miracles in Motion has served hundreds of students over the years with a work force of over 300 volunteers and a herd of 11 horses and 3 minature horses. Our students come from Linn, Johnson, and other eastern Iowa counties, and consists of children and adults with physical, emotional, and cognitive challenges.
As Iowa's first Premier Accredited Center, Miracles in Motion meets the highest standards for safety and therapy set forth by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH, formerly NARHA). PATH provides continuing education for staff and instructors.
There's something magical about the transformation that occurs when we bring together the energy and spirit of horses with people in need. Confidence, comfort, strength, and community grow exponentially.
Our programs impact not only the student, but the entire family. The changes started at Miracles develop into new opportunities and hope.
We provide a safe zone for learning, trying new things, building—and sometimes even re-building—relationships and attitudes.
Board, Staff, & Instructors
Mildred Chihak is the volunteer coordinator at MIracles. Previously, Mildred has worked with older adults with dementia and individuals with disabilities. She has been around horses her whole life. She began working at a friend’s barn in exchange for lessons. Then she showed horses in a local riding club as well as in 4-H. Mildred obtained a Bachelors degree in Social Work and Spanish from Loras …
Ken Manley, a Vietnam veteran, developed and directs Miracles’ MVECS (Military Veteran Equine Care Squad) program. Originally from Texas, he is active throughout Eastern Iowa in veterans’ issues. Ken is a past board member and barn manager at Miracles in Motion. Currently, he is a member of the board of directors for the Valor Board in Cedar Rapids. Ken and his lovely wife Ginny have lived in Iowa…
Diana began volunteering at Miracles in Motion in 2016. Since then she has served on the board of directors, been a horse lead, side walker, team leader, web site manager, and part of the afternoon feeding crew. In spring 2019 Diana began teaching therapeutic riding classes as an instructor in training, working toward PATH certification. Before she retired and thus could spend many hours volunteer…
Lois James is president of the board of directors. She joined the board in 2017 as she was transitioning to phased retirement from her business, James Investment Group, Inc., which she started in 1984. In addition to her love of horses, Lois enjoys travel, photography, gardening, and spending time with her partner, Bruce, and dog, Muffin. Lois lives north of Iowa City in rural Johnson County.
Mary Chadwick is vice president of the board of directors. In addition to her board duties, Mary assists with outreach and events promoting the programs that Miracles in Motion offers. Prior to welcoming her daughter, Katelyn, Mary worked for KONE Elevators and Escalators for 11 years, most of the time serving as new-construction project manager. A Central Iowa native, Mary relocated to Eastern Io…
Joe Petta is secretary of the board of directors. Following a 36-year career with Consolidated Edison of New York, Joe relocated to Iowa in 2008 and lives with his wife, Amy, on her family’s century farm in Amana. In addition to his board responsibilities, Joe volunteers as a side walker, horse leader and barn assistant, as well as assisting with property and equipment maintenance.
Holly Hotchkiss is treasurer of Miracles in Motion. She has served on several area boards, including the Iowa Women's Foundation, Friends of the Animal Center Foundation, The Miccio Foundation, and Arts Iowa City. She brings more than 30 years of accounting and management experience to her role as the organization’s treasurer. Holly resides in Iowa City with her four cats.
Karla Miller serves on the board of directors and is past board president and past interim director. In addition to her board responsibilities, Karla directs the Mini Ambassador Program, volunteers on the horse committee, and is a horse leader and team leader. She also assists in the barn and on the property committee and has volunteered at Miracles for several years. She is a trauma therapist in …
Gerald (Jerry) Mohwinkle is a board member with Miracles in Motion, where he also volunteers as a side walker, horse leader and barn assistant. In addition, he assists with volunteer recruitment and fundraising as well as managing volunteer work days for property maintenance. He is on the Hiawatha Library board of trustees, a board member of Sunrise Rotary, and member organizer of the annual Make-…
Nikole Tutton is the parent representative on the board of directors, as well as serving on the special events committee. In addition, she is a horse leader and side walker. Nikole lives in Mechanicsville with her husband, James, their 10-year-old son, Pattison, a student at Miracles, and his service dog, Kreacher. She is very active in the ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) community as an advocate f…
T. J. West serves on Miracles’ board of directors as the veterans’ representative. He began with the MVECS program in spring 2018 and joined the board in the summer of that year. T. J. is a medically retired 14-year Army veteran holding the rank of staff sergeant and served three tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. He also assists with MVECS classes, barn maintenance and fundraising. A native o…