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Gallaudet University softball team volunteers at Horse Rescue Farm

In an effort to show some of the goodwill demonstrated by our athletic teams this fall semester we will feature several stories this Thanksgiving including this one on various community service projects or fundraising efforts being done to help others. We hope it motivates you to give back in your own way to your community. Happy Thanksgiving from the Gallaudet Athletics Department!

MT. AIRY, Md. – The Gallaudet University softball team engaged in a meaningful community service activity at HorseNet Horse Rescue back in October. HorseNet is a nonprofit organization located on a farm in Mt. Airy, Md. They specialize in rescue, rehabilitation, and finding new homes for the horses in their care. The team had a great experience as they were able to help animals in need while creating strong bonds between team members.

Their main job for the day was cleaning out the stalls for the horses. HorseNet coordinators Linda Williams and Trudy Haselhuhn were impressed and extremely complementary of the women's work ethic and attitude throughout the experience. They raved about how they exceeded expectations and went above and beyond what they were instructed to do, despite unpleasant weather conditions on the rainy and cool October 1 day. For example, they decided on their own to remove cobwebs, rake the ground, and patch up holes, all of which weren't on the list of duties.GU softball at horse farm

"The best part was that they didn't care if they got wet or dirty" said Williams. "Trudy and I want to say thank you for all your wonderful hard work that you all contributed to help the farm. We would like to applaud the Bison for disposing 2,500 pounds of trash in one day. They didn't complain, which was a very positive way to look at it. Please come again!"

The coordinators plan to come to one of the team's softball games to cheer the Bison on this spring.

Many of the horses HorseNet takes in have had rough lives. Some have been neglected and abused, while others have disabilities. The name came about when the founder thought that someone needed to act as a safety "Net" for mistreated and disabled horses.

Several of the horses are blind. Sophomore Victoria Rainey (Danvers, Ill.) had a real connection with these horses and the organization.

"I was truly touched by the blind horses because we have something in common, a disability. I am deaf and the horses themselves are blind being able to be there for the horses really took me to another place. My heart was really into this project," said Rainey.

GU softball volunteers time at Horse Farm Second year head coach Joseph Kolcun is a strong advocate for community service. He believes that doing good things for others makes people feel good, develops stronger bonds between team members, and helps people learn more about themselves as individuals. He also wants to continue developing relationships between the Gallaudet softball team and the greater community.

"When the team was working together, they were having a lot of fun and I saw the chemistry between players grow," said Kolcun. "During the season, chemistry and bonding are keys to winning games."

Overall, the players had a great experience at HorseNet. Junior Nicole O'Malley (Fredericksburg, Va.) echoed the sentiments of many players, saying "Community service is great because it makes my team work together and get to know each other." Sophomore Caitlin Stevens (Glen Allen, Va.) added "I wish I could go back and visit there often to help them again." Through this experience, the team was able to do a good deed while at the same time fostering team chemistry that they hope to carry over into the season.

To learn more about HorseNet please visit its website at www.hnhr.org

GU softball team pose for a team picture at Horse Farm

Gallaudet University softball team at Horse Rescue Farm