I train thoroughbred racehorses in Bennett, CO. I have scoliosis in my back, and due to the curvature of my spine, one lung is almost totally nonfunctional, and my heart is turned. Even though I’ve never smoked, it’s hard to breathe even with oxygen. I also have a hard time getting around because I have a bad hip, and I’ve had multiple broken bones.
My various health issues were part of the reason why I quit my 30-year career as a loss prevention manager. I soon realized, though, that staying home to work on my ranch and train my horses wasn’t any easier.
My husband, who works long hours at his own job knew I was struggling and was concerned. One day he happened to see a little ad in the paper about an AgrAbility winter workshop. I had no idea what AgrAbility was all about. The ad mentioned something about advice for people working in the agriculture business who have physical health issues.
At first, I was hesitant, but eventually decided to go. Boy, am I glad I did! At the AgrAbility workshops, they give you great ideas on how to change your farm equipment and change how to use your equipment.
After one of the workshops, I started talking to Jill, an occupational therapist who works for Goodwill Industries of Denver‘s AgrAbility Program. So, after we chatted for a bit, Jill asked, “Can I come out to your farm and visit you one day?” I said, “Sure, come on out.So not long after that, Jill and her partner Vince came to visit me on my farm in Bennett, CO. After looking around for awhile, Jill turned to me and asked, “Jackie, what do you think would help you?” I said, “Gosh I don’t know.” I thought about it for a minute, and then I said, “Well, I always wished I had a utility task vehicle (UTV) to help me get around from barn to barn.”
Not too long after their visit, my phone rang and it was Jill. She said she wanted to go with me and find a UTV, and that’s exactly what we did. We went together into town and bought a UTV Kawasaki Mule. It’s great, it helps me get around from barn to barn, and it allows me to do my work with a lot less pain and a lot quicker than before.
Eventually, Jill also decided I needed help cleaning the stalls. The next thing you know, Jill got me a manure vac. It’s great. It’s really easy to operate and cleaning the stalls isn’t a problem anymore.
My family and I are so grateful for the help that I received. I know there’s so many other people out there like me that want to remain independent and want to keep their ranches and farms running, but they’re working every day with a lot of physical pain. I just want to spread the word that AgrAbility and Goodwill® can help.
Hear more stories from people like Jackie »
Learn how Goodwill helps people with different kinds of disabilities live, work and thrive in their communities »