Sandy Gilbert and Refuge Farms: A mission to save horses and make them feel safe

Sandy Gilbert relies on volunteers as the engine that propels her non-profit Refuge Farms rescue facility; as of now, there are over 60 individuals donating their time and muscle to the care of horses who, until now, had spent the majority of their lives in abusive situations, or had been abandoned and left to freeze or starve.

Sandy likes to recall one of the ways WESTconsin Credit Union became integral to Refuge Farms’ mission in the person of office manager Jamie McCulloch.

“Jamie is the sort of person who gets to know the members who come to WESTconsin,” Sandy recalls. “One freezing winter day she came out of her office and asked, as she often does, ‘How are the horses doing in the cold? How are things on the farm?’

“I had something horrible weighing on my shoulders, so we went into her office and I said, ‘Jamie, there are three abandoned horses out there, an hour and a half away. If I don’t get to them in the next 24, maybe 48 hours, they’re going to freeze to death, and that is not a nice way to die. But I don’t have the resources. I’m fit to be tied—I don’t know what to do.”

Jamie told Sandy about a feature WESTconsin could add to her checking account that would allow Sandy to write herself a loan for emergencies just like the one she was currently facing.

“We set up that feature that very moment, and I drove an hour and a half to rescue those three horses.” Sandy feels certain that Jamie’s personal approach saved lives.

WESTconsin Credit Union is more than just where we do business,” Sandy says. “They are a partner.”


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