Sunday, January 09, 2011


The Refuge Farms Building Committee

Hello and Happy New Year! Many of us met yesterday for Blaise's Memory Meal and I must say, more than once we all agreed and vowed that 2011 would be a year of great healing. For us and for the horses. May it be so.

And so we look and work for the future. A future of taking in the "diers" and giving them shelter, love, care, and treatment. And, in order to continue doing just that, we must look at our resources - our buildings - and prepare.

Below, you will see a reprint of the article Tom Atsatt wrote for our 2010 Winter Newsletter. In it, Tom modestly told you that he had seen a need here at Refuge Farms. And so last fall, he stepped forward, asked to start a Building Committee, and assumed the leadership of that Building Committee.

This is a first for Refuge Farms and a much needed role to be filled! My focus is the horses. Always the horses. I stay focused and so put funds into the breathing components of our Missions – the horses. But Tom, in his wisdom, saw that we are in jeopardy of not being able to continue our Missions if we don’t have weather-worthy buildings!

Many of us have talked about barn needs, office needs, hay shelters, but it has been just that. Talk. It took Tom to step up and commit to getting something done! For instance, the old barn. Literally falling down around us, this barn must be dismantled before a disaster happens. And prior to dropping the old barn, we must make adjustments to our herds, we must move box stalls from the old barn to the new barn, and we must prepare electrical, telephone, and water supplies for the demolition. Then, we must dismantle and rid ourselves of the structure.

Sounds simple, doesn't it? Don't let it fool you. There is a myriad of details to be thought through and a list of work to be completed. And Tom, with his experience and connections, will carry it to fruition. Refuge Farms is so very lucky to have Tom and have him willing to take on these responsibilities!

The wisdom and experience of this man make him an excellent leader for projects like the demolition of the old barn, the creation of a Hospital Facility in its place, the creation of a shelter for our round bales, and even the creation of an office outside of the residence (and yes, with an indoor potty!).

During our Annual Christmas Breakfast at Applebee’s just last month, Tom and Julie unveiled the first fundraiser for the Building Committee –
the raffle. We have asked our volunteers as supporters of Refuge Farms, to sell to these tickets to their friends, their co-workers, and even themselves! The prizes are fantastic! Just look at them! And thank you to our donors – Linda & Jim J. of Eau Claire, WI for the Super Bowl Basket and Tom & Julie for the beef. The drawing is January 31st – just in time for Super Bowl.

Tickets are $5 each or a packet of 3 for $10. The prizes are:
* Quarter side pasture raised beef - a $500 value
* Twenty 1 lb packages of pasture raised ground beef - a $50 value
* Tailgate basket of snacks including a 12 pack of Leinie's beer - a $50 value
* Applebee's gift certificate - a $50 value
* Ten 1 lb packages of pasture raised ground beef - a $25 value

Thank you to all of you for your efforts for the Building Committee by buying and selling these raffle tickets. And especially, thank you to Tom Atsatt for stepping up and helping this organization continue to save lives!

Happy New Year to each and every one of us!

Enjoy the journey of each and every day,
Sandy and The Herd

Reprinted from the Refuge Farms 2010 Winter Newsletter:

Hello Fellow Friends of Refuge Farms,

With the wrapping up of the Refuge Farms Fall Gala, it means another year is coming to a close. Another busy year for Refuge Farms, with this year’s Fall Gala benchmarking the 10th Anniversary of the horse rescue and sanctuary. One more promise added to the original three. Promises that when stated sound so rational, promises that reflect the way that we ourselves would like to be treated, but sometimes, in the case of our equine friends, can take almost herculean efforts to achieve: to be treated with respect, not to feel hunger and thirst, to know a Forever Home, and to improve the quality of life.

Through Refuge Farms program called “Horses Helping . . .,” the horses give back to us, demonstrating the power to recover from neglect and abuse, and again open their hearts and minds to the world around them. Hundreds of horses have had their lives improved by the efforts of Refuge Farms, either by it becoming their Forever Home, or by becoming adopted or fostered horses. My wife and I have adopted two horses from Refuge Farms, and foster two others. We know firsthand blind trust as we lead and work with our sight-impaired mare, and have seen life renewed in aged horses by regular feed and care.

Refuge Farms has touched many lives, both equine and human, and with any non-profit organization, it takes work, dedication, time, and donations to keep it running. Unless specified otherwise, much of the donations go in to the care and feed for the horses. In the past ten years, only minor repairs have been done on the actual buildings at Refuge Farms. This year the Refuge Farms Building Fund has been initiated, the donations of which will go to the structures at Refuge Farms which are in dire need of repair and replacement, and which will continue to create protection and facilities for those horses that come in for rescue, and to also improve the conditions for the care takers.

Luckily most of us have never experienced having to set out pails in the attic, or climb into bed and find a pool of water soaking through the covers and mattress, because of a leaking roof. So the first item on the Building Committee’s agenda is to replace the house roof. Second on the list to tackle is the “Hospital Building”, the structure you see straight ahead as you drive into THE FARM, where the sick and injured horses are cared for.

This building is literally moving sideways and we are praying it will last through this coming winter. We need to replace it with a building that will allow Refuge Farms to continue to provide the care and safety needed for the charges we have promised to protect. The third project on the list is to provide a new run-in facility that would allow every horse inside shelter and storage of the hay helping prevent loss from the elements.

The Refuge Farms Building Fund has been established to start the process of repair and replacement. We are accepting donations specific to the building fund through various means. Donations can be made via direct mail, or in the near future on-line via the web site. We will have donation cans at upcoming events and we are also planning a raffle that has prizes, like a farm raised ¼ beef, ground burger gifts, a tailgate basket (including beer), and a $50 gift certificate for Applebee’s.

We believe the repair of the structures at Refuge Farms can and will be accomplished – just reflect on how much the volunteers and the caring friends of Refuge Farms’ has accomplished in its’ first decade. Please help us ensure it is around for decades to come.

Tom Atsatt
Chairman, Refuge Farms Building Committee

P.S. If you would like to be a part of our raffle by either selling tickets or by purchasing tickets, please email THE FARM at and we'll get you taken care of promptly! And good luck! May you win the prize you're hoping for!

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