This year marks the twenty fourth year that GERL has been helping horses in Georgia. While those members who are very active today, are vital to the continued survival, growth, and effectiveness of the organization, let us not forget those who have gone before.
One who must never be forgotten is Marty Paulk. She was among the very first passionate warriors in the fight against equine mistreatment in our state. Marty was a lifelong horsewoman and then became the consummate “horse show mom” to her horse loving daughters. She was one of the first to embrace and work very hard to establish and accomplish the GERL mission. She never missed a chance to support GERL with her kind words, her generous heart, and her boundless energy.
It was Marty who organized and hosted the GERL Christmas Party in the beginning years and she who arrived at each weekend camping event in the early morning hours to begin preparations for insuring that the participants were served a hearty breakfast and, above all, hot coffee. She wrote the most beautiful notes on behalf of GERL to those who may have suffered a loss or who deserved praise or needed encouragement. When cancer took Marty from us, it was indeed a sad day for the Georgia horse community.
Your GERL Board of Directors now seeks to keep Marty’s memory alive by awarding the prestigious “Marty Paulk Cheerleader Award” each year to a GERL member who, like Marty, has worked very hard to support horses in need and promote GERL at every opportunity. The coveted trophy is kept by the recipients for one year as a reminder of the appreciation it represents. It is then returned to be presented to the next honoree. Each year, the winner’s name is engraved on a brass plate which is mounted on a beautiful walnut placard where it joins the names of previous winners. The placard is proudly displayed at each GERL event.
I would like to note that the choice of each year’s recipient, is always very difficult as there are, thankfully, many who deserve the honor.
If there has ever been a “larger than life” personality, it belongs to Mickey Farmer. Always cheerful, sometimes downright boisterous, Mickey is loved by everyone. He has been GERL’s official auctioneer for many years and has always arranged his busy career as a popular and successful professional auctioneer, to accommodate GERL fund raisers. Not only does he share his time and talent with this organization but over the past few years, Mickey can also be found on the auctioneers stand selling horses which have been impounded and rehabilitated by Georgia Dept. of Agriculture, Equine Division.
To listen to his auctioneers chant and especially his humorous side remarks, is always a treat for even those who have no intention of bidding. Mickey has a way of making folks want to bid on items that may fall into the “ridiculous” category. I remember Mickey managing to sell a very small diver’s wet suit to a gentleman who is neither very small nor, in any way, had a need for such an item! It was all in fun and added lots of excitement and laughter as several bidders competed, each hoping NOT to win the bid, for the wet suit. I do believe I myself, have a fuzzy, four foot tall, pink flamingo for which I paid $100, in the back of a closet somewhere. So you see, anyone can fall victim, not only to this man’s auctioneering abilities, but his uncanny way of setting a mood of joy and generosity for the cause that GERL represents.
Other than Mickey’s undeniable value as our auctioneer, he and his friend, Thomas Threat bring life to any evening spent around a campfire. All of the campers seem to find their way to Mickey and Thomas’ camp which centers around a HUGE campfire. A tiny amount of beer may be consumed and some very tall tales are shared. Fun and laughter seem to follow Mickey Farmer as he turns any event into a valued memory.
Mickey freely donates his skill as an auctioneer to GERL and to GDA. His service truly makes a difference. We at GERL are grateful for both his generosity and his friendship. We are honored to name him as the first recipient of an award that keeps the memory of his, and GERL’s friend, Marty Paulk, alive..
It is only right that those who have served GERL for the longest time and who have truly helped the organization to grow and become successful, be awarded the Marty Paulk Cheerleader Award. Ray Ziebell knew and love Marty Paulk, as did many of us. He has been a member of GERL since the very beginning and has done all in his power to ensure our success.
Ray and wife, Pierette, make every effort to attend most GERL events. Their presence always adds greatly. Ray is a quiet man, if you do not consider his propensity for dressing up as a Native American and bursting into camp at night on a very spirited black horse, carrying a blazing torch, much to the delight and surprise of everyone. It is quite an unbelievable sight and one which will never be forgotten.
Ray and Pierette love horses and they love GERL. This is evidenced by their long time and deep involvement in the organization. Two nicer human beings could never be found.
Some time ago, Ray discovered that he had a love and a special talent for making jewelry, knives, and other Native American reproduction artifacts. In addition to his successful farm fencing business, he finds time to produce many interesting and beautiful Native American items which he sells as a vendor at appropriate gatherings. He has donated many, very successfully sold, such items for GERL auctions.
One especially appreciated volunteer service provided by Ray at GERL trail rides, is that he gets out of bed very early to make sure the coffee is ready for those who are still rubbing their eyes on a beautiful morning prior to a fun ride.
This year Ray was deeply moved when we lost our very special friend, Andee Rogers. He suggested that the 2016 Annual GERL Poker Ride be designated as The Andee Rogers Memorial Ride. He also volunteered to head the event and, after two postponements due to weather conditions, it became a very outstanding reality. Your GERL Board of Directors has declared that the Annual GERL Poker Ride will be forever known as the Andee Rogers Memorial Ride. This feels very right to all concerned and we are happy that Ray represented Andee’s memory with such a result.
Ray Ziebell and wife, Pierette, are truly cheerleaders for GERL and have been for a very long time. We are pleased to present Ray with the well-deserved award which honors the memory of one of the dearest, most loved members of GERL, Marty Paulk.
Susan Archer is a very special lady. She has the softest heart for horses, dogs, and children, which she never attempts to hide. She and husband, Ken, have played a very active role in the business and activities of GERL for many years.
As GERL Auction Coordinator, Susan worked exceptionally hard and produced some of our most profitable auctions. She was known for going way above the requirements of her Auction Coordinator position by buying and donating many decorative items (flowers, corn stalks, pumpkins, and many items to make table center pieces) with which to set a festive mood for each occasion. We lovingly called her “Susie Homemaker”. Husband Ken, often said there was no room in their living quarters for him after Susan got all of her auction items and decorations loaded to take to a weekend event!
A former beauty queen, Susan presented quite a lovely picture when mounted on her beautiful palomino gelding, “Handsome”. Handsome is retired now but she has a very sweet bay gelding which she greatly enjoys. Quite understandably, grandchildren have taken center stage in Ken and Susan’s lives for now but we know that when needed they will step up to do anything to help or promote GERL.
We thank you, Susan, for your time of service as GERL Auction Coordinator and “chief event decorator”. We know that you are proud to receive the Marty Paulk Cheerleader Award and that you join all at GERL in making certain that we keep memories of Marty Paulk in our hearts.
The GERL Board of Directors agreed a long time ago that the Marty Paulk Cheerleader award was not to be given to Board members. The reason was because the award wasn’t created for our executives to pat ourselves on the back. Being a GERL Board member and dedicating half of your life (or more) to the cause is a given. We wanted to recognize the volunteer who most closely emulates Marty Paulk and her dedication and love of GERL. That person, without a doubt, is Anne Ensminger, so we decided that we needed to make an exception to our rule.
Anne and her deceased husband, Gene, were volunteers for GERL almost 15 years ago. If you attended a GERL fund raiser you would see Anne and Gene. They both served on the GERL Board and have been instrumental to GERL’s growth over the years. Anne served 5 years as Secretary before I became President, which was about the time of Gene’s passing. She had already announced her resignation when I asked her to reconsider. I sure am glad that she did! Here we are 8 years later and she is still a prominent figure at almost every event GERL hosts.
I believe that Marty Paulk would be very pleased to know that Anne is the recipient of the coveted award named in her memory. Thank you, Miss Anne, for all you do for GERL!
Andee Rogers and Marty Paulk were friends, brought together by their association with GERL and their shared love for horses. Andee was proud to accept the GERL Marty Paulk Cheerleader Award in 2012 as she knew just how meaningful the award is to the organization and all who knew Marty.
We doubt there is anyone in this organization who has not heard that Andee DeMoss Rogers passed away on September 7, 2015. Even if you did not know Andee personally, you probably know someone who knew her well and thought very highly of her.
Out of a growing awareness and a deep concern for the way that many horses were (and still are) treated by cruel and uncaring owners in our state, Andee and several other ladies founded Georgia Equine Rescue League, Ltd. in 1992. They held a deep determination to end mistreatment of horses. Since that time, Andee has been an integral part of, and an active supporter of GERL’s mission in many, many ways. She will be greatly missed by all at GERL and everyone who called her ‘friend’.
Who can explain the deep love for horses that we who simply must have them in our lives, hold in our hearts? Being aware that Andee joyfully carried the “horse disease” gene, her own mother is at a loss to explain it. It’s a thing that just IS. In Andee’s case, it seems to have been a trait that she was very pleased to have passed on to three generations of her horse loving family.
Appropriately, Andee’s last day was just as she would have planned. It was a beautiful early winter day and she was preparing her beloved mare, Sierress, for a trial ride. They would be joined by two of Andee’s dearest friends. She was taken suddenly just as they were ready to mount. Even if it was not her last thought, we know that Andee had pondered this little prayer many times; “Of all the things I have accepted in life, I pray silently that God will never let me know the last time I ride a horse”. That was Andee.
It would be difficult to imagine Georgia Equine Rescue League without thinking of Diana Kelsey. She has been an active member and supporter of this organization since the very early days. Truly a “free spirit” with a good heart, Diana has more friends than just about anyone. A GERL event without Diana would feel as if something dear and important was missing and would not provide nearly as much fun. No doubt, to receive the Marty Paulk Cheerleader Award holds special meaning for Diana as she and Marty shared a deep love for horses and often worked side by side to help build GERL.
Over the years, Diana has served GERL in many capacities. It was her idea to design and create a beautiful three-fold color brochure which would define the purpose and describe the programs supported by GERL. That brochure has been sent out by mail and distributed by volunteers at many GERL information booths so that others might know about Georgia’s horse problem and exactly what GERL is doing to solve it.
Diana has been a valuable member of the GERL Board of Directors while serving as Treasurer and Co-Newsletter Editor.
Always one of the first to volunteer at any GERL event, Diana has organized and gathered items for many of our auctions, she has prepared and served food to our hungry trail riders, and is always available for the job that is everyone’s least favorite, post event clean up.
After the many hours of hard work Diana has contributed to making GERL an effective and successful organization, it is she who is always first to saddle up for a trail ride with old and new friends or to hit the dance floor to get the party started on a fund raiser weekend!
GERL is grateful for Diana’s past service and we all look forward to many more years of working with her on behalf of Georgia’s horses in need.
Dr. Jan Smith was the recipient of the Marty Paulk Cheerleader Award for 2014, and, honestly, she could have been the recipient on any given year as she has been a true cheerleader for GERL for many, many years.
I remember years ago when she was in charge of the GERL auctions. She orchestrated a huge live auction at the Gwinnett Civic Auditorium, with the help from her office staff. It was a pretty big deal. Mickey Farmer was the auctioneer and there were some great auction items to be had. In fact, there was so many items that it lasted for hours. She raised thousands of dollars for GERL and left a BIG pair of shoes to fill when she retired from doing the auctions. In years even previous to that she was buying stock trailers for the GDA or computers, or whatever they needed to get the Equine program going.
Today, Jan continues to support GERL in so many ways. She is notorious for providing us with all of the beautiful Coach and Dooney & Bourke purses for our auctions, not to mention art work, condos to Vail Colorado and Disney World. Many of the auction items we had for the Rescue Challenge came from Jan. She was also instrumental in helping us out financially with the Rescue Challenge by donating the money for the winners.
She prefers to stay in the background and never wants public recognition for her generosity. In fact, I know that when she reads this article she will probably want to choke me! (Just kidding!) She is one of the most generous and loyal cheerleaders that GERL has had the good fortune to attract so many years ago and, personally, I am so very glad she is part of the GERL team! Congratulations, Jan!
Each year, members of the GERL Board of Directors discuss potential candidates for GERL’s most prestigious volunteer award…the Marty Paulk Cheerleader Award. We try to choose the person who has demonstrated the actions and passion that go back to the person that this award memorializes and that is Marty Paulk, herself! Anybody who knew Marty, back in the day, knows the word “passion” is the perfect descriptor. It was obvious that she thought about GERL A LOT! She was at every GERL event that I can remember from back then, and someone I would also describe as “tireless”. When Marty left this world she left a big hole, and that includes GERL.
There are others who we meet along the horse path who also stand out. When they support an organization, it becomes more than paying your dues and attending some events. They are in 150% and raise their hand often to pick up a horse and deliver it across Georgia to its new home, work booths and anything else that is needed.
The Board agreed that one such person who absolutely stood out as one of the most loyal volunteers, one who most mirrors Marty Paulk, is Linda Kundell. Many of us know Linda from working trails with CTHA or through the Kel-Mac Saddle Club. She is still active with both. Linda, a lifetime member, joined GERL in 2010 and immediately volunteered to be an Area Coordinator for not only her county, but for 4 other counties, as well as agreeing to be a foster home. She is in charge of our hotline phone volunteer roster which includes the tracking of volunteer attendance at all GERL events. Oh, did I mention that she is also our Merchandise Coordinator? She orders all GERL merchandise and maintains the GERL cargo trailer and seeing that it is present at our events. Linda wears many hats, which now includes being a member of the GERL Board of Directors.
Please join me in congratulating Linda and thanking her for the many hours of time and the labor that she provides to GERL! Without folks like Linda, we could not do what we are doing for Georgia’s horses!
Patty’s Blog“Let me say this…about that”
Patty Livingston – President
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Georgia Equine Rescue League
P.O. Box 328
Bethelhem, Ga 30520
To report a case of horse abuse, call the
Georgia Department of Agriculture Equine Division
Monday – Friday | 7:30 AM – 4:30 PM
404-656-3713 or 800-282-5852