In May, my friend, Terri Satterlee, had a terrible, freak-riding accident from which she is now successfully recovering. Terri was president of Central Vermont Dressage Association (CVDA) for many years and was honored with the USDF Region Volunteer of the Year award in 2014. Few have attributed as much to our sport as Terri.
Weeks after leaving the hospital, Terri remained in severe pain and required pain medication potent enough she could not be unattended. Her husband faithfully stayed by her side throughout her hospital stay and he continued to care for her at home. It was clear from the start this accident was going to have a substantial effect on their already-full and hectic lives. What was unclear to both of them was how they would manage her husband’s work and Terri’s transportation to medical appointments and daily care.
Then, as fate would have it, a phone call from one of Terri’s horse friends and fellow board member occurred in order to discuss CVDA business. Upon learning of Terri’s condition and accident, her friend made a call of action within the CVDA community.
Amazing things began to happen. Her CVDA friends and colleagues organized food, transportation and support, and staffed shifts throughout the day so she would not be alone, thus freeing her husband to return to work. Together, they helped Terri face her pain and the horrible side-effects caused by the medications, as well as her return to the hospital and the start of her long recovery. Some members did extraordinary things they probably did not even know themselves to be capable of as they helped Terri through her most challenging moments. I cannot begin to name all of them because I would surely be failing to mention some.
The story Terri told me had moved me to tears, especially as it was told to me by a strong, vibrant and robust version of her which she attributed to these extraordinary friends. The outpouring of their support allowed her to feel gratefulness and caused wonders for her spirit. She still has a way to go in her recovery process, but she has made notable improvements and has a strong, positive attitude towards her recovery and her future in the saddle.
I have written before on these pages about one of the principal values within the NEDA membership: becoming a part of a community with shared values and passion. Personally, I cannot think of a better example of the value of being a part of such a community than Terri’s story. I imagine her story is not unique, and many of you could point to similar acts of kindness and generosity in your own world. I know other examples of a community coming together to respond to a friend in crisis over personal health issues, collapsed barn roofs, and equine injuries but each of those stories reinforce what we all know to be true: that for all our sense of mastery over our lives in ordinary times, we know when tough times arrive we cannot get through them alone. That is when the community you give time and/or money to during the ordinary times comes back to you tenfold—when you need it most.
says... Posted Tuesday, August 11, 2015
Thank you for sharing this story, it is remarkable what a strong community can do. It sounds like good Karma. Happy to hear she is doing well.
The mission of the New England Dressage Association is to promote and support the Art and Sport of Dressage to the equestrian community for the purpose of fostering individual and collective growth by providing leadership, education, exhibitions, publications, competitions and to enhance greater public awareness, understanding, and appreciation for the discipline of Dressage.