J. F. Shea Therapeutic Riding Center SOV 22

Published: April 13, 2022

J. F. Shea Therapeutic Riding Center

Honoree’s Name: Richard Markell

Award Category: Economic & Workforce Development

Why This Volunteer is Extraordinary:

Richard Markell

Through his more than 30-year equine veterinarian practice and as an attending veterinarian to many celebrities, luminaries and as an official veterinarian for the United States Olympic Show Jumping Team, Richard Markell DVM, MRCVS, MBA, is considered a leader throughout the world as an expert in equine sports medicine and consultant to the pharmaceutical, biotech and life science industries.

For over 22 years, Dr. Markell has faithfully cared for the J.F. Shea Therapeutic Riding Center’s horses every week at no cost to this nonprofit organization that serves the disabled community with therapeutic horse-related programs. His care of The Shea Center’s 23 equine partners has ensured the horses are healthy and able to do their work as therapy horses.

Through the years, Dr. Markell has served as an advisor for The Shea Center’s therapeutic riding instructors to educate them about the latest equine issues that relate to therapeutic riding and general horse care. Annually, he conducts wellness clinics for our horses, and educates the staff explaining each diagnosis, what may have caused the condition, what the treatment should be and why.

In addition to his time, Dr. Markell has donated all the medications needed to care for our horses. He has also introduced and enlisted the support of other veterinarians, specialists, and equine hospitals to donate their services, medications, and procedures to The Shea Center’s herd.

Dr. Markell comments, “I do a lot with the Olympic equestrian team. But, I have to tell you the most rewarding part of my job, I get excited when one of my clients makes the team, or when I help a horse that has a tremendous athletic success, but, every week I go to a therapeutic riding for the disabled program. I feel like every one of those horses is just as or even more valuable than any of my Olympic horse athletes.”

“That’s something that veterinary medicine has given me, that equine medicine has given me, the ability to do something really, really important. While the other may seem much more glamorous, there is nothing like giving back in your profession something that really changes people’s lives.”

Shea Center CEO, Dana Butler-Moburg remarks, “The gifts Dr. Markell has given The Shea Center are extraordinary as the inherent expense to maintain our horses in top condition is significant.”

In 2009, Dr. Markell was honored with the Michael Lewis Friends of the Disabled Award by the J.F. Shea Therapeutic Riding Center. The award is based on an outstanding example of community support, volunteerism, and philanthropy.

In 2019, the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl.) selected Dr. Markell as its Volunteer Veterinarian of the Year for Region 11, which includes California, Nevada and Hawaii.

We are extremely grateful to Dr. Markell for his many years of dedicated service to The Shea Center herd and are honored to nominate him for The Spirit of Volunteerism Award.

Honoree’s Name: Greg Talbott

Award Category: Economic & Workforce Development

Why This Volunteer is Extraordinary:

Greg Talbott is devoted to The Shea Center. Greg first learned about the Center when he picked up his granddaughter, Riley, one day after her volunteering shift at Shea.

As a busy CEO at AdelFi, when Greg has time to spend at Shea, he calls it his “”Sheacation””. Since 2018, Greg has logged 1,040 lesson volunteer hours and countless more hours as a board member and a member of both the finance and executive committees. He was also instrumental in helping secure The Shea Center’s Paycheck Protection Program loan during the pandemic.

Greg is starting his third year as The Shea Center’s sponsorship chair for the annual BBQ & Family Faire. He was also our leading board member during the 2022 Drive to Ride fundraiser at Shea raising over $23,000 for rider financial aid, horse care, and priority programs such as our military program.

Michele Gringas, The Shea Center’s volunteer team coordinator says, “Greg Talbott is a wonderful, dedicated lesson volunteer and consistently goes above and beyond what is necessary. He picks up additional volunteering shifts or comes in early to help pull tack and clean up around the barn.”

Greg’s love for The Shea Center, volunteering, and the clients is obvious by the way he interacts with everyone. He never fails to ask “How are you doing?” He remembers what he’s been told and will ask about it the next time he sees you. The staff love working with Greg and appreciate the horse knowledge he brings with him. If Greg was no longer a Shea volunteer he would be greatly missed. His friendliness, flexibility and overall kindness would be a loss for The Shea Center.

We are exceptionally grateful to Greg for his generosity and service to The Shea Center and our clients. We are honored to nominate Greg Talbott for the Spirit of Volunteerism Award.

Honoree’s Name: Carly Green

Award Category: Economic & Workforce Development

Why This Volunteer is Extraordinary:

Carly Green

A volunteer since 2015, Carly Green has logged 5,691 hours as both a leader and sidewalker at The Shea Center. She is a hard-working volunteer four afternoons each week.

Carly’s thorough knowledge of the horses and how things are done at The Shea Center is obvious. She can work with any horse in the herd, and she also helps teach sidewalking classes three times a month.

Advanced volunteer, Deana Bergquist, says “Carly is always ready to step in to help with program lessons if there is a position to be filled. She is reliable, easy-going and positive when interacting with clients and other volunteers. Carly is a pleasure to work with!”

Adaptive Riding Development Manager, Shari Masline, comments, “Carly always has a smile on her face; she enjoys interactions with our clients; she has developed long-term friendships with other volunteers; and she is a ‘go to’ person for the program staff. Personally, I am grateful for the huge effort she puts into summer horse camps, leading for both Emerald Cove and Shea Camps without a break. That is amazing!”

“Carly’s contribution to Shea would definitely be missed if she were no longer a volunteer,” remarks Volunteer Team Coordinator, Michele Gringas. “Carly is the kind of volunteer who can be counted on to be consistent, reliable, hardworking, flexible and friendly. The staff enjoy working with Carly and are confident in her abilities.”

We are extremely appreciative of Carly’s years of service and dedication to The Shea Center’s clients and herd and are pleased to nominate Carly Green for the Spirit of Volunteerism Award.

Honoree’s Name: Dixie Sparks

Award Category: Economic & Workforce Development

Why This Volunteer is Extraordinary:

Dixie Sparks

Dixie Sparks remembers The Shea Center when there was one trailer, one porta-potty, one cross-tie, and stalls that flooded when it rained. Although the setting was primitive, she quickly points out that safety and quality riding were always priorities.

Dixie first learned about the Center when her daughter began volunteering at Shea and invited her mother to join her. Twenty-seven years later, Dixie is still here!

When Dixie turned in her application to volunteer, the Center was short-handed, and being an accomplished horsewoman, she was put to work immediately. Today, she assists with training new volunteers at the barn, and two days each week she assists with the horse exercise program. Currently volunteering four days each week, she often fills in for other absent volunteers.

In addition to helping with lessons, Dixie volunteers for almost every single on-site Shea Center event including the annual BBQ demonstration team, barn tours, the annual BBQ rider parade, the Camp Pendleton EFMP event, field trips, and she is a leader during The Shea Center summer horse camps.

Dixie says what keeps her coming back to The Shea Center year after year is the enjoyment she sees in the riders’ faces. She feels good just seeing them so happy. “For one hour each week they are able to forget their physical limitations and just enjoy the freedom of riding.” Some of her clients have been with her for years.

Dixie appreciates the way the Center continues to upgrade and teach new classes so all the volunteers conform to “the Shea way.” She has enjoyed seeing the Center’s progress over the years and is proud to be a longtime volunteer.

Advanced volunteer Deana Bergquist comments, “Dixie is a very consistent and caring volunteer who loves what she does at The Shea Center and is constantly making others smile with her harmonious and kind demeanor. She is a true gem to work with.”

We are extremely thankful to Dixie for her many years of service to The Shea Center and our clients and are pleased to nominate Dixie Sparks for the Spirit of Volunteerism Award.

Honoree’s Name: Susie Roof

Award Category: Economic & Workforce Development

Why This Volunteer is Extraordinary:

Susie Roof

Susie Roof has been a fixture at The Shea Center for many years. Her association with the Center began over 29 years ago when she was approached by Shea Center board member, Jon Fosheim, and was asked to come out of retirement as a physical therapist and join the staff at the Center.

At that time, Susie didn’t want to go back to work, but was willing to join The Shea Center board and also joined the volunteer team as a sidewalker. She loved working with the children, but also felt compelled to help in other ways.

Susie’s commitment didn’t stop there. Shea Center CEO, Dana Butler-Moburg, agrees and offers these insights: “‘How can I help you?'” This is often the first thing you’ll hear Susie Roof say when you meet her. And for the past 24 years of working with Susie as a leadership volunteer at The Shea Center, the answer to that question has been to chair various committees, lead our gala event multiple times, chair the first capital campaign, lead our phenomenal board not once but twice, and generally assist with anything that is needed to serve our clients. She is the ultimate contributor at every level – leadership, expertise, generosity, dedication, love. Susie Roof is the real deal and we love her and her amazing family.”

If that wasn’t enough, Susie has been on the executive committee for ten years, the legacy and endowment committee for eight years, she spent ten years on The Shea Center’s annual BBQ & Family Faire committee, and the last 18 years on the annual Gala committee, where she has been chairing the committee for three years.

According to Chief Development Officer, Agnes McGlone Swanson, during the COVID pandemic, Susie stepped up and lead the charge to invite all our 2020 annual gala guests to donate the funds they had set aside for gala tickets to our new Stand With Shea annual campaign, which helped the Center manage through the beginning of the pandemic and is still thriving today.

We are extremely thankful for Susie Roof’s dedication and service to The Shea Center and are proud to nominate her for the Spirit of Volunteerism Award.

Photo: Bob Ortiz Photography