Some horsey groups keep the spirit of giving alive all year long.
In these last few days before Christmas, it’s easy to get caught up in the hubbub of the season. Did I leave anybody off my list? (In my case … yes, I forgot our wonderful rural mailman and the feed-store owner to whom I usually send a tin of homemade goodies!) Do I have all the fixings for a big family dinner? Are all the presents wrapped? (Again, in my case, that’s a “no!”)
The spirit of giving and generosity sometimes gets lost in the midst of the “ACK!!!!” But then, sometimes, you meet someone who helps you get it back in perspective.
For me this year, that someone was Bill Shackelford, a longtime AQHA member from Sheridan, Wyoming, and president of Westrust, a charitable organization that originated from the Western and English Sales Association (WESA), which is a market group at the Denver Merchandise Market. Their target audience, obviously, is horse people, and they never seem to lose that magical spirit of Christmas.
“So far, we’ve helped over 15 individuals and spent over $30,000,” Bill says. And it’s been just as much of a gift to the Westrust managers when they see the effect they have on people.
“We give some financial and psychological help to the recipients. They feel like nobody’s there to help them, and when we do help them, it’s amazing how much their attitudes change. It’s not only the financial help, but the fact that there are people out there that are concerned about them,” Bill says.
He mentions one person who thought he was going to lose his house and was despondent. After receiving help from Westrust and getting that “shot in the arm,” his life seemed to turn around. A job offer soon followed, bringing with it a return to financial stability.
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