Congratulations to our July Volunteer of the Month! I am lucky to have had the pleasure of working with Renee back when I used to work Mondays. It always lit up my day seeing her arrive at SAFE. Her positive attitude is infectious and she has a great sense of humor. Renee has always been willing to come in early to help with feeding or fill in as a Shift Lead on another team someone quit and I had no one to help. SAFE is lucky to have her as part of our team caring for the horses!

How and when did you first get involved with horses?

I started volunteering at SAFE at the end of 2019. Since my three children were gradually leaving the nest, more time became available. I have always loved the idea of having a horse, learning how to ride, and working with them, but I didn’t seek out opportunities. So, I decided to look into volunteering. SAFE’s mission drew me to their cause by rescuing, rehabilitating, and retraining abused horses. In addition, it was a way for me to learn about horses and to be around them.

Renee with Kayla

Do you have one now you want to tell us about?

Kayla was good to me when I was getting my picture taken on a sweltering afternoon – very patient. When I first started at SAFE, there was a horse named Renée. So, of course, I was drawn to her since we share the same name. Renée means reborn in French. Because of SAFE, she was adopted, getting a second chance to live a fulfilling life.

What do you like most about volunteering with SAFE?

SAFE took a chance on me, knowing that I didn’t have much experience with horses. The staff patiently shared their horse knowledge and encouraged me to continue learning about them. I am so impressed with all of the SAFE staff, how hard they work, how much they care, and how dedicated and skilled they are. And, of course, I love the horses ‑observing how they interact with each other. This past year was a very challenging year for people, and I thank God that I had the horses in my life. They were a comforting and constant presence that kept me focused and determined to keep moving.

Do you have a favorite SAFE horse? If so, why?

I enjoy all the horses, especially any horse that pays attention to me. However, I do have to say that I am fond of Kayla.

What do you do when you are not horsing around with us?

I am a wife and the mom of three young adult children. In addition, I am a special education teacher in the Shoreline School District. I try to keep active by running and participating in strength and conditioning classes.

Do you have family or special people in your life who support your volunteer work that you would want us to mention in your write-up?

My family has been very supportive of my volunteer work — (husband Greg, my three children, Nick, (his fiancé, Kacie) Anna Catherine, JoJo and parents Jerry and Mary. I have to mention my sister, Yvonne, who started volunteering at a horse farm outside of Spokane at the same time as me. She has been taking riding lessons the past year and just recently leased a horse. So awesome! We both love our time with the horses. I wouldn’t be surprised if my other sister, Cory, got involved.