Friday, May 23, 2014

Jackson Hotshots Volunteer at Horses For Handicapped

Lamar Liddell on horseback with child

A very special, three-day event is held annually in April in Jackson, Mississippi, at the Mississippi State Fairgrounds. This event is Horses for Handicapped or HFH, and over 1,800 children and adults with physical or mental disabilities get to spend a day enjoying horseback riding, wagon rides, games, space jumps and even a petting zoo. All the horses and labor are provided by local volunteers.
Jackson IHC volunteering

Several members of the Jackson Hotshots spent April 16 volunteering for this rewarding event. Steve Godbold, HFH director, was "very glad the Jackson Hotshots were a part of Horses for Handicapped this year. They jumped right in and were a real asset in loading operations and backriding with youth."…

Between completing required training and conducting prescribed burns in cooperation with the Forest Service in Mississippi, the Jackson Hotshots have been making an effort to give back to the local community. The Horses for Handicapped event provides a unique blend of care and interaction of humans and animals which benefit children and adults with disabilities. This was a new event for the Hotshots, but everyone came back to the office with stories to tell and with big smiles.

Lamar Liddell on horseback with child

"Being on the back of a horse holding a child was not what I was expecting to do, but seeing all the smiles from the kids made every moment worth it," said Lamar Liddell, Eastern States Fire Management Officer.

"Anytime we can help our community we are happy to do it, but spending time with the youth today was especially rewarding," Fred Ashford, Acting Fire Crew Chief. This event is about touching lives, and on this day not only were the participants affected, so were the Hotshots. Hopefully, we will be able to do it again in 2015.

By Shayne Banks, Southeastern States Office

Reprinted from "The BLM Daily," May 12, 2014. 

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