Al Sines of Kiawah Island recognized as the 2022 recipient of the Exchange Club of Kiawah-Seabrook Angel Oak Award.



There’s an adage in the world of volunteer driven non-profit organizations, “Things get solved if you get involved”, and this year’s recipient embodies that philosophy.  Since 2019, Al Sines has been a weekly volunteer at the Charleston Area Therapeutic Riding facility (CATR), helping empower children and adults to enjoy more active and fulfilling lives through therapeutic horsemanship.

Al was born in Washington DC and lived in that area until moving to Kiawah in 2009. He and his wife Grace have a son Richard, daughter-in-law Lisa and grandson John. In Maryland, Al was a firefighter and emergency medical technician before joining the Washington Metropolitan Police Force. After his retirement from the police department he embarked on a second career as an engineering consultant for Public Safety Radio Systems.

Al notes that while he has participated in many activities, his most rewarding volunteer experience EVER was beginning his volunteer work at CATR. “It has been absolutely amazing to see what a positive and profound impact therapeutic horsemanship has on these children.”

Al works as a sidewalker at CATR, supporting students to ride and build experience with their equine partners. In addition to helping the rider with their horse, Al makes connections with the students, getting to know them and providing support and encouragement until the student is an independent rider.  According to Al, “The best day as a volunteer at CATR is the day you’re “fired” because your student has grown and learned so much that they no longer need your help.”

Beyond helping students, Al’s home repair skills have helped CATR maintain their infrastructure, willingly repairing gates and fences, light fixtures, and anything else that needs to be fixed.  As if that weren’t enough, Al has been involved in fundraising for CATR, and was recognized as CATR’s 2022 Volunteer of the Year.  

Each year CATR provides therapeutic riding and other equine activities to over 140 children and adults with disabilities and 30 wounded military veterans at their facility in Johns Island, SC. By moving the rider's body in a manner similar to a human gait, therapeutic riding helps individuals with a wide range of disabilities gain strength, balance and confidence. Riding and interacting with horses is also fun, motivating and empowering.

There are lots of volunteers in our community and a lot of organizations that need assistance.  Al Sines is a model of a volunteer going beyond their original roles and helping to make an organization better. He’s an ideal recipient of this year’s Angel Oak award.

The Angel Oak Award was established by the Exchange Club of Kiawah-Seabrook Foundation in 2012 to recognize a volunteer who has made an outstanding contribution to the people or the quality of life on Johns Island, Wadmalaw Island, Kiawah Island and Seabrook Island.  As a part of the award, the Club makes a $5,000 donation to a local charitable organization or organizations of the recipient’s choice.

The Angel Oak Award Banquet will be held at Wingate Place, 3850 River Road, Johns Island on May 17, 2023.  Ticket prices are $100, and attendance will be limited to 150 persons. It is anticipated that the event will sell out.  To attend, please register at Angel Oak Dinner Reservation 2023