Alissa and Sinatra, photo by Sundee Rickey

We are so fortunate to have outstanding volunteers. In fact, it makes for a difficult choice every month when we pick two volunteers to spotlight. This month we would like to highlight two barn chore volunteers who rock our world with their sweet natures, work ethic, and dependability. Thank you, Alissa and Beth, for all of your hard work and dedication to the horses and people of SAFE. Congratulations on being named October Volunteers of the month!

Alissa Ralston, Tuesday AM Shift Lead Super Star

How and when did you first get involved with horses? Do you have one now you want to tell us about? I have always loved horses and started taking riding lessons at around 10 years old. I found SAFE when I moved to Washington and started volunteering May of last year. I have one very handsome quarter horse named Bonc that lives on my family’s farm in Arkansas with his favorite horse friend Friday.

What do you like most about volunteering with SAFE? I love being around the amazing people and horses of SAFE and making a difference in all of the horses lives.  I love seeing them get adopted and find their forever homes!
Do you have a favorite SAFE horse? If so, why? It is really hard to pick a favorite horse, they all have such unique personalities! I’ve really enjoyed getting to know Sinatra. He is super sweet and very playful.


Beth Erkel, Sunday PM Rock Star

Beth and Valor, photo by Sundee Rickey

How and when did you first get involved with horses? Do you have one now you want to tell us about? I have been in love with horses since I was 5 years old!  Most people ask “are you a dog person or a cat person”  My answer was always and is always “I’m a horse person!”  My whole world revolved around horses.  Every picture I drew, every movie I watched, every time I went out to play, all revolved around horses.  I even made my Barbies ride horses. (Their legs didn’t like it, but I made them do it anyway!)  Lol!  I started with a Shetland Pony when I was 9.  Her name was Sugar.  I was fortunate enough to get my own horse when I was 10.  His name was Lucky.  Three years later I brought home a 5 year old Quarter horse mare named Sunshine.  I had horses for 20 years.  Those were the very best of memories!
What do you like most about volunteering with SAFE? I LOVE volunteering for SAFE for so many reasons, but the two most important reasons are #1… being with the horses. (They need so much special love) … and #2… bonding with the other volunteers! They are such wonderful people and they have become such great inspirations in my life!  (The whole SAFE experience has been such a positive influence for me.)
Do you have a favorite SAFE horse? If so, why? I LOVE all of the horses at SAFE.  Seriously!  They are all very special in their own way.  I would gladly welcome any of the SAFE horses into my life if I had the resources to do so.  I have a special soft spot in my heart for those horses that are a bit needy such as Angel and Cyrus.  Also the more challenging, in a good way such as Piper, Fancy, Mina and Luna.
What do you do when you are not horsing around with us? When not horsing around at SAFE, I spend time with my husband of 32 years, our two married adult daughters (and their husbands)… and our 3 grandchildren!  (I also get out with my three besties of 41 years to do fun stuff like going to Dude Ranches, going to the Ocean, hitting the snow or the beaches, Etc…)  I am very blessed!
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? I have a lot of people who support my volunteer work at SAFE.  My girls always ask “How are the horses?”  My coworkers ask on Monday mornings, “Did you go to the horses this weekend?”…  My mom (who is 82 years old and is struggling with Dementia), still remembers my love of horses and all the years that I spent with them, and is so happy and proud of me for pursuing my passion for horses by volunteering for SAFE! I will have my own horse again in the future… but for now, I have so much more!  I have SAFE !  ❤