“If you build it, they will come.” Just got done talking to Mark Jerkins and his wife at HEB. We were discussing all the activity Jamie’s Ranch has had in the last 2 months and that was his comment.
With the help of many people, (Mark being one of them), we did build it….and they have come.
We apologize for it being so long since the last blog, but things have exploded here at Jamie’s Ranch and I’m afraid time got away from us. We had over 200 visitors in March. I’m afraid we lost track in April, and May is undoubtedly going to beat March. We have three groups alone coming next week and are at the point we can’t take anymore groups in May. It’s a great problem to have, and one I’m not sure we foresaw.
So many things have happened in the last 3 months. I’ll try to re-cap them all and not forget anything.
As we mentioned in the last blog, our pavilion is finished and it’s hard to imagine what we had done without it previously. What I had forgotten to mention was 3 people.
First, my father-in-law, Wilbert Grenz who paid for the entire structure. While Sheri and I had talked of such a thing, I’m afraid it probably would have been a couple more years down the road without him.
And then some thanks needs to go out to Roland Martinez, my neighbor, who did a wonderful job building the structure….and Louis Vasquez, a firefighter friend of mine who poured the slab. Thanks to them I didn’t have to worry about having someone I could trust build it.
And my how quick we get spoiled. Up to this point everything had been done out under the trees or on my deck. Got pretty crowded with bigger groups. And while I know it seems like it never rains….the new covered area saved a couple trips this spring.
Along with the pavilion, we now have a large handicapped accessible bathroom thanks to the time/work/materials donated by Ken and Judy Clifford. The bathroom is connected to the pavilion, is 8×8, has a changing table able to handle an adult, and a shower head. Up to this point we had been renting a porta-potty, which was getting pretty expensive. Ken and Judy are over at our place quite a bit, so you’ll have to give them a big thank-you if you see them.
Again…how quickly we get spoiled.
Let’s see…..in February we had a table at the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo for 2 days thanks to the San Antonio Fire Fighter’s Association. They always have a large presence there with an antique fire truck and a canopy. They’re located at the entrance where virtually all the school groups come in and allowed us to set up a display under their canopy. We handed out hundreds of cards/brochures to every special needs group we saw come by. It was invaluable exposure and was directly responsible for the busy spring we’ve had.
In March Sheri and I spoke at the ACEE 4-H group out of Pleasanton. Our granddaughter, Shyanne, is a member. A few days later we got a phone call from a dad saying he had a horse he’d like us to check out. We had been looking for another horse with the right temperament for use with our visiting kids. And that is how we met “Slow Ride”. He is the perfect match for our program, though we did shorten his name to “Rider” to make it easier for the kids to say and remember. A huge thank-you must go out to the Jonathon Fluitt family. They could have easily sold this horse….he’s the type of horse everyone with a beginner would be looking for. Instead, they donated him to us. He is now our go-to horse for the smaller kids and at 16 years, is a horse we’ll have for a long time.
Which now brings us to Mark Jerkins and our other addition to the ranch. It all started with my wife calling about a goat and a discussion about Jamie’s Ranch and future needs and plans. That discussion was with Mark. And now, thanks to MG’s in Pleasanton and their generous donation of all the materials….Mark and his work crew and the members of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church who donated their time and equipment, building it in one day….we now have a wheelchair accessible horse ramp.
Have I said it yet? How quickly we get spoiled. Thanks to that ramp, I hope to be able to retire from the San Antonio Fire Department with my back intact. Getting kids on the horse, many of them taller and larger than me, usually wasn’t the problem. Getting them off was….as it usually entailed having them put an arm around my neck and sliding to the ground so there would be no loss of balance on the steps. Having more than 20 riders some days often had my back quite tender. My back and I have thanked Mark, his people and MG’s many, many times.
While at the rodeo, we had a retired vet and his son who was in a wheelchair, stop by our display a couple times. Lo and behold approximately a month ago he called my wife, said he was in the Pleasanton area and wondered if he could come out and see the place. But of course. And then we got another surprise. Thanks to Ron Beitzel and another son who assisted him with the installation last week, Jamie’s Ranch now has a 55-inch smart TV and DVD player with hundreds of movies/concerts on it, in our pavilion. Unbelievable!!
We have met and continue to meet so many fantastic individuals. Last week we were at 2 events. First was the Resource Fair at Southside ISD in San Antonio, where we had a table with all our pictures/brochures. And I have to relate a conversation that we had with a couple teachers. After they’d looked at all we had on display, it started with “So….how much IS this?”. When we told them it was free, it was “Come again?” After we assured them it was indeed free, it was “We’re not used to hearing that”.
And then Friday, Sheri and I had the privilege of being Grand Marshalls at the Atascosa/McMullen Special Olympics. It would have been a memorable event anyway, but what made it more so was the fact that we were recognized from the moment we got out in the parking lot, by kids who had already been out at our place….some of them multiple times already. As we’ve said before….if they want to come back and they have smiles on their faces when they say it, we’ve done our job.
And sorry, I can’t help but get a kick out of hearing from those who don’t know about us and haven’t read our brochure yet, ask “This is how much again?”
Which brings me to those individuals/families who have donated in addition to the ones we’ve already mentioned:
Rick Carry – 5 beautiful friendly goats….already a hit with the kids
Mark and Tammy Jerkins – In addition to the horse ramp, a cute little goat
Karen Turner – Hay and sweet feed Susan Sexton – Hay, round bales (again)
Brandon Smith – Hay, square bales (again)
Ken and Judy Clifford – Many additional items of use (fence, horse panels, feeders, etc.)
There have been many more contributions that we can’t mention individually, including my niece Larissa, who gave me $9 out of her bank when I went to visit them. All these contributions, large and small, allow us to continue to not only provide what is our main goal….a peaceful, pretty, colorful day recreation site….free, but to also add to it and continue to make improvements.
And speaking of small contributions I’d now like to talk about Amazon and a program they have. Amazon will give .5% of all eligible purchases to the nonprofit of your choosing. There is no cost to the purchaser. Jamie’s Ranch is now registered with Amazon so you simply type in our link and .5% will go to Jamie’s Ranch. Our link is https://smile.amazon.com/ch/47-4842673. If you use Amazon, and don’t already have a non-profit benefitting from this program, we would appreciate you using us. Every little bit helps.
And with that I’m done. We will try to make it not so long until the next blog. Thanks to all our new and old friends. We hope to see you soon!!
Roger and Sheri Mitzel