Riding To The Top recognizes 2020 volunteers

PHOTO: Trish and David Vaughn, RTT Barn Volunteers of the Year, have gotten their “exercise” several days a week throughout the year helping to keep the barn and paddocks clean. (RTT photo)

WINDHAM — The pandemic and associated restrictions did not stop volunteers from contributing time and talent to Riding To The Top in 2020.
Despite being closed for nearly four months and needing to modify lessons once the farm was able to re-open, volunteers still collectively donated more than 5,500 hours of service in 2020. Volunteers at RTT worked in the barn, in lessons with clients, exercised horses, repaired and maintained the facilities and trails. Volunteers also served on the board of directors. RTT celebrated the significant impact its volunteers have made on the organization during National Volunteer Appreciation week April 18 to 24.
“RTT is fortunate to have many committed and passionate volunteers,” Executive Director Sarah Bronson said. “We truly would not be where we are today without the hearts and hands of so many individuals who are at the farm each and every day. In our eyes, all of our volunteers are our heroes, but each year we recognize volunteers in certain categories.”
This year’s RTT recognizes:
Pat Niboli (Volunteer of the Year); Maddie Hurley (Youth Volunteer of the Year); Janis Childs (Administrative Volunteer of the Year); Sue Smith (Rookie of the Year); Trish and David Vaughn (Barn Volunteers of the Year); and Lisa Fink (Volunteer Schooler Award).
RTT also recognized individuals and organizations for outstanding volunteer contributions, including IATSE Local 114 – Maine, Elizabeth Holmstrom of Mindful Employer and The Platz Family.
Volunteer Coordinator Nick Doria said, “We missed our volunteer picnic last year but hope to have an outdoor gathering later this summer.” Meanwhile RTT plans to post thank-you signs and distribute goodies to show their appreciation of its volunteers.
This year a number of RTT volunteers will receive Presidential Service Awards and will be recognized on the Maine Roll of Honor.
President’s Volunteer Service Award Since 2003, the President’s Volunteer Service Award has recognized the important role of volunteers in America’s strength and national identity. This award honors individuals whose service positively impacts communities and inspires those around them to take action, too. The PVSA has continued under each administration, honoring the volunteers who are using their time and talents to solve some of the toughest challenges facing our nation.
This year 13 RTT volunteers received The President’s Volunteer Service Award:
Bronze Level Awardees (Adult 100-249 hours/Young Adult 100-174 hours): Clayton Peters, Diane Powers, Elizabeth Wood, Fran Maxwell, Maureen Mathieu, Stacie Hamilton Waldron.
Silver Level Awardees (250 to 499 hours/Young Adult 175-249 hours): David Vaughn, Trish Vaughn, Janis Childs, Patty Shaw.
Gold Level Awardees (500 or more hours/Young Adult 250 or more hours): Dan Morabito, Lina Jordan, Pat Niboli.
Lifetime Award (4,000 or more hours): Pat Niboli.
Maine Governor’s Awards for Service and Volunteerism Celebrates and recognizes the role of citizen volunteers in the success and vitality of Maine communities. At the same time, the awards seek to inspire others to be active in civic life and follow in the footsteps of those recognized.
This year, six volunteers made the Maine Honor Roll.
Adult Roll of Honor: Dan Morabito, Pat Niboli, David Vaughn, Trish Vaughn.
Youth Roll of Honor: Maddie Hurley, Lina Jordan
Riding To The Top Therapeutic Riding Center enhances health and wellness through equine-assisted service as a Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International International Premier Accredited Center. It’s the only such center in the state dedicated to serving people with disabilities through equine-assisted services and is a community-based nonprofit, receives no federal or state funding and provides scholarships to more than 60 percent of its clients. Visitors at the farm are limited because of the pandemic. For more information visit www.ridingtothetop.org or call 207-892-2813.