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HALLECK CREEK VOLUNTEER SHINES IN NATIONAL SPOTLIGHT

HCR volunteer Jim Rutherford with horse Don Fuego Photo courtesy of Halleck Creek Ranch

   Points of Light, the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service, has named Halleck Creek Ranch volunteer Jim Rutherford as a Daily Point of Light Award Honoree. President George H. W. Bush created the “Daily Point of Light Award” in 1990 to recognize ordinary Americans from all walks of life taking direct voluntary action in their communities to solve serious social problems. 

     Rutherford enjoyed a long career with Chevron where he worked as an internal statistical

consultant. In 2008, Jim discovered Halleck Creek Ranch, and so began his volunteer journey with therapeutic horses and their riders. He has served in various capacities at HCR since then, even throughout cancer treatment and after a stroke.

     Volunteering with Halleck Creek Ranch has given him an intimate knowledge of horses.  “I’ve learned to talk to horses. That’s an incredible skill. You have to control yourself, figure out

where you are, and figure out where the horse is. That’s how you make the connection,” he said.

    Rutherford participates in all aspects of the Halleck Creek community, including monthly volunteer Zoom calls where volunteers, staff and participants chat about their week and find connection across all ages and disabilities, attending fundraisers and the recent holiday party.     

   “Right now, I’m starting my second round of treatment for cancer, but through all of this, through the cancer and the stroke, I can still help. The ranch community has allowed me to be able to continue helping,” he said.

   HCR’s Executive Director, Molly Scannell, and her full-time staff of seven full time staff rely on more than 130 weekly volunteers to provide riding lessons, trail rides, summer camps and additional programs through partnerships with other nonprofits. 

   “Our Ranch leverages the relationships built between horses and humans to offer fun, challenging experiences. Riding horses helps those with disabilities access the great outdoors while they gain confidence, make friends, and learn critical life skills,” she said.  “Our dedicated volunteers are the cornerstone of our program, without whom we simply could not do this work. We cherish each of our amazing volunteers and are so excited by this recognition of Jim. He has touched hundreds of lives in his 15 year service, all for the better.”

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