I’m asking for a few minutes of your time for a deeply personal message from me (Dawn Hayman, Co-founder).
Halloween always has a deep emotional charge for us here at Spring Farm CARES. October 31, 1993 was a day like any other day here on the farm. Except it was a day that changed the course of our lives and altered our path forever. There was a freak snow storm that night that dumped over 14 inches of wet heavy snow. We tucked our 30 small animals in for the night and prepared ourselves for a morning of contending with shoveling snow and getting to the barn to care for our 35 horses. But at 11:45pm, a car hit a telephone pole a few miles down the road from us and sent a power spike up the line. It stopped at the end of the line which was our old dairy barn that was renovated into offices, small animal quarters, and our living quarters. We lost everything in a mere 20 minutes. The fire was so intense that it melted our refrigerator into oblivion. We lost 27 dear animal souls that night. Thank God the firefighters were able to save our horse barn. We evacuated the 35 horses into the snowy night and they all survived. Bonnie and I got out with the clothes on our backs and nothing else. All but three of our beloved dogs, cats, and parakeets were gone. I cannot possibly express the devastating loss this was.
But the sun rose again the next morning and Bonnie and I were suddenly faced with a major decision. We could call it quits. Or we could start all over. Both of us knew the answer from deep within our hearts and souls. We would move forward and start again. Only, this time, we were wiser. We had an opportunity to grow from our mistakes. We would build again but we would do so from a strength we didn’t even understand we had at the time.
None of this could have happened without the enormous outpouring of support from our supporters and our community. To this day, we hold that deep gratitude in all that we do. There is amazing generosity and kindness in this world. I know because I see it all the time. People began to show up the next day with donations of clothing and daily items that you don’t even think about until you suddenly don’t have them. And people began to send donations. But as importantly, people started sending us letters and messages to not give up. Sometimes it is hard to find hope. But hope is always there underneath the ash. And we began digging through that ash with all our might. And hope was there. At first it was just a little spark, but it began to grow. We have nurtured that hope over the years and it has made us so much stronger.
I felt it was time to honor the memory of those we lost 28 years ago today, and to take a moment and remember the depth of gratitude we have for all of you. Spring Farm CARES would not be the place we are today without having gone through that very difficult tragedy. But out of the flames, we rose like the Phoenix.
Please do not lose heart in this world. We are going through tough times… all of us. But we can come together and rise together. We can come together out of kindness and compassion and love. We can join together in peace and forgiveness. And we can transform this Earth into the deep healing that is needed. We all have the power and ability to do this. All of us have a choice all the time…. Give up and call it quits…. Or move on, stronger and better. Please don’t give up.
I hope you will join us in moving forward, just as we know we can do. Because life is precious. Every single moment is a blessing. And it is up to each of us to make that moment the kindest and most loving that we can.
Please don’t give up on hope.
Thank you for listening. And thank you for being here with us. We are beyond grateful.