It gives me great pleasure to introduce you to another wonderful citizen of Calvert County who provides considerable volunteer efforts and great support within our community today. Jennifer Purcell is extremely involved with many different organizations since coming to the county from New York nearly three years ago. She has literally jumped in to many activities to lend her great experience and talents to help others. She is very active in her son’s middle school and remains involved in his Boy Scout Troop. Yet her primary volunteer effort is with the Freedom Hill Horse Rescue [FHHR] here in the county. It is a successful 501[c]3 non-profit local organization committed to saving neglected, abused, and unwanted horses throughout the State of Maryland. I will get to her superb efforts with this group in a few moments…
Jennifer originally hails from Florida where she first became involved in volunteer work at a riding stable while still in middle school. She remained with this stable for six years before heading to college. Members of my family once raised horses near Ocala, Florida many years ago. This central part of the state had a great concentration of horses and I was made to believe there were more horses in Florida than cows in Texas at that time!
During her college years, Jennifer became active in many volunteer organizations and was awarded a full scholarship by the Kosove Society for Leadership and Academic Excellence. She claims to have won this scholarship in large part due to her long commitment to community service, but I suspect her great intellect played a role in this selection as she went on to earn a Ph.D. in Curriculum & Instruction where she focused on the field of higher education. And while living in New York [can you really live in New York? Most people, I am told, claim they merely “exist” up there], Jennifer became a medical school educational consultant. This will probably get me in hot water with my editor who was raised there and is a big NY Giants fan. So if you are unable to read this tomorrow, that most likely will be the reason! But I digress…Jennifer’s main focus during this part of her life concentrated on curriculum and faculty development, and community-based education and assessment.
In 2012, her husband was transferred from New York City to Washington, DC. In planning this move, they set out to find a home in a County that offered a good school system where the cost of living would allow her to stay home. Obviously, they found their dream here in Calvert! It seems there may be a trend here as several of my previous personalities set out on a similar path that led them to our beautiful part of the world. And for Jennifer, she has come full circle, for after 18 years of college and professional employment, she has returned to her love of horses, only this time it’s in the field of horse rescue.
Jennifer has been with FHHR for over two years now. She logs from 15 to 40 hours per week doing direct horse care while working behind the scenes on projects such as grant writing, fundraising, event planning, and maintaining their website. She states this organization is a completely all-volunteer group where a handful of key people dedicate many hours each week handling the administrative duties. Then they are supported by weekly feed shift volunteers and short term event volunteers who ensure the horses are cared for every day, rain or shine or snowstorm. They currently have 65 active volunteers and they are always happy to welcome new folks to their team. At the end of this story I will tell you how you can learn more about the great work of these dedicated individuals and how you can get involved with this wonderful and necessary work.
I asked her “where does she find the strength and encouragement to pursue this type of volunteer work”? She says without the support of her husband she would not be able to fully engage in these wonderful and meaningful activities”. And her son is able to provide some needed muscle power for hay deliveries and special events. Even her neighbors are big supporters of these rescue efforts.
Jennifer feels this story should really be about all of the good works of the rescue and other Calvert-based non-profits, not herself. There is a continual need for volunteers for day to day tasks as well as special projects that come up. They are supported entirely through grants and donations alone to care for these beautiful creatures. They have a “Horse Angel” program for individuals who love horses, but do not want or cannot afford to own one. For a monthly contribution, an Angel can sponsor a specific horse at the rescue and is permitted to visit their horse and get updates throughout the year. To learn more information about this wonderful undertaking, visit their website www.freedomhillhorserescue.com. You can use this site to reach out to Jennifer with any questions you may have.
She also asked me to advertise their Halloween Show they are holding the day after Halloween on November 1st where their horses and riders will be in costume. Kids can come for Trick or Treating, arts and crafts, a costume contests, and photos with a horse. She says it should be a fun day and I believe her! The address is 7940 Flint Hill Road. Owings.
Finally, I asked this young lady if there was anything else she wanted me to say in this piece. She says “she is thrilled to live in a place where volunteer efforts are valued and recognized and I encourage people throughout the county to get involved in one or more of the many organizations that support the community. We are very happy that we moved to Calvert County”. Jennifer, I could not have said it any better myself. I really hope my friends at the Board of County Commissioners and the Department of Tourism are reading this! Keep up your great work – you too have made our county a beautiful place to live! And thank you for all you do!
Dave Spigler resides in Lusby and has been a resident of Calvert County since 1979. He has been recognized many times for his years of community service. He received the “Calvert You Are Beautiful Award” for 2013 and recognized by the Knights of Columbus as the “Maryland Citizen of the Year” in 2011. He was a member of the HOGETTES, the Washington Redskins “Biggest Fans” for 22 years. If you know of an unsung citizen of Calvert County, please contact Dave at email@example.com.