4,000 hours and counting
Volunteer extraordinaire Wendy Morrissette keeps finding new ways to contribute to Ironstone Farm.
She has received recognition from the White House for her astounding level of service to Ironstone — 4,000 volunteer hours and counting.
Now, at age 71, she has a new role, as one of the few volunteer leaders allowed to take out horses from the paddock and get them ready for therapists working with clients.
“I went back to where I started – and I didn’t realize how much I missed interacting with the kids who ride,” she says.
Wendy came to Ironstone in 1999. Like most beginning volunteers she helped out by leading and walking beside horses to ensure the safety of clients.
“When I first started volunteering there was a little girl, I don’t know how old she was – maybe 2. She couldn’t walk, she couldn’t stand, couldn’t sit, couldn’t talk,” says Wendy.[caption id="attachment_681" align="alignleft" width="150"] Wendy received a letter from President Barack Obama and The President’s Call to Service Award for giving an incredible 4,000 hours of her time to Ironstone Farm.[/caption]
It wasn’t long before Wendy’s natural grace with horses was noticed and she began spending all her time helping to feed and care for the animals. But she happened to see this girl about three years later.
The difference in the child was profound, she says.
“She ran to me, she kissed me, and she was going to kindergarten,” says Wendy. “There aren’t too many [stories] like that, but just to have one is enough. It’s what this place does for me.”
There’s a long list of what Wendy has done for Ironstone. For years, she fed and cared for the horses. She takes thousands of pictures each year and maintains a catalog of photos and news stories about Ironstone programs. Over the years, she’s donated a substantial amount in money and supplies to the feeding program. She creates and sells items in the welcome center, with the money going to Ironstone’s programs. She has led horses for clients. She was one of the leaders for the farm’s Drill Team.
All this work keeps her in shape, she laughs. She estimates she has walked about 10 miles a week, and says she “always” is telling people they should volunteer at Ironstone.
“It’s exercise and you don’t even know you’re doing it because it’s so much fun. You’re out in the fresh air,” says Wendy. “Without this place, I don’t know what I’d do. It’s my lifeline.”