A lot of exciting things are happening in the world of GERL. I realize that I start out many of my articles with that sentence, but honestly, when I sit down to start writing my article, that is the first thing my fingers want to type. Not because of writer’s block, but because it is true. Likewise, many of my personal conversations with friends and family start out with “You’re not going to believe….”! So, let me tell you exactly what is going on and why I’m excited about our future.
First, our new website is up and running and it looks MARVEOUS! If you haven’t looked lately, take a tour at www.gerlltd.org. Our webmaster and IT Extraordinaire, Steve DeMoss, has been working on converting our old website (that required knowledge of HTML code) over to WordPress, the industry standard web-hosting application. There are over 130 web pages that currently exist for GERL and every one had to be converted. One of the great features about WordPress is that it supports “plug-in” software that allows the screen to shrink down to be seen from a hand-held device such as a cell phone or tablet. This was absolutely the driving force behind the GERL Board of Directors voting to move on it right away.
Another reason we needed to make this happen is to be able to have a back-up plan in the event anything was to happen to prevent Steve from making our updates. It is not good practice to have only one person with knowledge about a vital piece of GERL’s infrastructure. This same methodology is being utilized in other positions within GERL. All of our events, including project plans for each and other information are there and can be followed by someone new. I can’t help thinking about who will come along in the future to take over the reins for all that GERL has built and stands for?
And, for the second part of my exciting news, let me say this, about that.. A couple of months ago, I received an email from the President of the Georgia Horse Council. His name is Christopher Chapman and he is an attorney in Stockbridge. He had a proposition that he wanted to discuss concerning the GERL and the GHC. I called him and he told me that the GHC had been unable to get volunteers to step up and help with the running of the organization or orchestrating fund raisers for several years. I listened as he told me the issues that brought the 3 active Board members to the decision that they could no longer maintain GHC. They were requesting GERL’s in the shut down process they were planning..
If you know anything about the Horse Councils, whether state or national, you know that they have always offered a $1,000,000 Excess Equine Liability Insurance policy to its members at a cost of $45 per year. As Mr. Chapman is speaking to me, I’m trying to remember the last time I had heard or seen anything about Georgia’s Horse Council. I asked him what the GHC has done for the past 2 years and he told me that they had maintained the insurance policies on the 200 + current members. He explained that the sole purpose of his phone call to request “folding” the GHC into GERL. This was a lot to digest at one time so, I told him that I would discuss the idea to my BODs and get back with him.
I did discuss with the Board and they were interested in obtaining more information. I sent Chris an email with a list of 10 questions that we had. Our questions were; Is this legal? What is your Mission? Is the insurance company on board, etc.? After a couple of weeks, he returned my email with answers to all of our questions and a draft of a plan that would wrap up the transfer at the end of 2017. The GERL BOD, without hesitation, voted to move forward with this merger, if it comes to fruition. I only say “if” for one reason and that is because part of his proposal for the merger states that the GHC will send out emails and letters informing the members of a meeting to elect new board members as well as the proposed plan to join GHC and GERL. It doesn’t sound like there’s anybody interested in running the GHC, much less five people, but you never know and we’re not counting our chickens until we know the result of that mailing.
In the meantime, we intend to consult an attorney and speak directly to the insurance company about any requirements they may have. Also, previous discussions among the GERL Board members has uncovered a huge need and that is a new team of volunteers to help us with this second database and the 2 hours of effort involved with the required monthly reconciliation and report. I’m hoping that one of our supporters with insurance experience (or not) will reach out to me and let me know if you would be willing help. I feel like this is going to be a great advantage to GERL and our members, especially, if we can offer the insurance to our current members. Stay tuned for more updates on this exciting venture!
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