ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

North Country R.I.D.E. receives $30,000 gift

An anonymous donation of $30,000 came just at the right time for North Country R.I.D.E. this spring. The non-profit organization, which offers therapeutic horseback riding for people with physical and developmental disabilities, is in the midst o...

An anonymous donation of $30,000 came just at the right time for North Country R.I.D.E. this spring.

The non-profit organization, which offers therapeutic horseback riding for people with physical and developmental disabilities, is in the midst of the long-awaited and much-anticipated construction of its first-ever Client Services and Administration building.

The unexpected donation, given by family members in memory of Russell and Helen Hedlund, will go a long way toward the completion of the new building, which Julia Mattson, North Country R.I.D.E. executive director, said she hopes will be open by late May or early June for use by clients and staff. That won't be a moment too soon, according to Mattson.

"We have been operating in such cramped quarters for so long," said Mattson of the current make-shift office located in a trailer adjacent to the R.I.D.E. facility. "In addition to our regular staff, we hope to have two to three interns helping out this summer, and this new building will make such a huge difference."

The new 40x80-foot building will include administrative offices, a large meeting room, a kitchen and an informal gathering space for volunteers.

ADVERTISEMENT

"This structure will be much more user-friendly for volunteers, as well as providing a place for the parents of riders to take a break, have a cup of coffee and talk with one other," said Mattson. "The kids themselves will also have a place to work on arts and crafts and other activities when they have a little down time as well."

Construction of the Client Services and Administration building was already under way when the anonymous donation was received, thanks in large part to the efforts of Dwight Morrison, board member and building committee chair. To date, Morrison has successfully lined up donations of labor from local organizations and union apprenticeship programs, as well as donations of many materials.

Earlier this week, a group of retired electricians from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 242 was busy at work volunteering their time to complete some of the wiring on the inside and outside of the new building.

"We have saved thousands of dollars thanks to the time they've given us," said Mattson. She said the electricians, whose time and services were coordinated through the Electricians' Union, have already put in nine to 10 days working on the facility, which Mattson estimated amounts to some $14,000 worth of donated services.

Mattson said North Country R.I.D.E . will continue with its fund-raising efforts to secure the remaining $90,000 of capital funding needed to complete the building.

With the soon-to-be-completed expansion of its facilities, the organization hopes to be able to serve more people and meet the ever-growing demand for the valuable services it offers. North Country R.I.D.E. provides horse-facilitated activities as a means of therapy, education, sport and recreation for persons with special needs.

Mattson said construction of the new facility will go a long way toward achieving two other significant goals as well: earning accreditation from the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NAHRA), and the eventual expansion of North Country R.I.D.E.'s programming to a year-around operation. The current riding season runs from April through October.

North Country R.I.D.E. was started in 1982 to provide services to individuals throughout northeastern Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin. In addition to the new building, the facility also has a 69x136-foot arena for indoor lessons and a 100x200-foot outdoor arena.

ADVERTISEMENT

North Country R.I.D.E .is located on 30 acres along Hatinen Road in rural Esko. For more information visit its new Web site: www.ncride.com .

What To Read Next
Fundraising is underway to move the giant ball of twine from the Highland, Wisconsin, home of creator James Frank Kotera, who died last month at age 75, 44 years after starting the big ball.