After hearing from our communities, we've selected our three winners of 2020 for top Community Pioneers. It was great to hear from everyone and see so many people voting for their favorites.
In 2020, Pioneer donated $18,000 to local non-profits to help our communities thrive. Do you know someone who is a Community Pioneer? Nominate them for our 2021 Community Pioneer award.
First Place Winner: Shannon B. with Green Heart Rescue
Our first place winner is Shannon B. with Green Heart Rescue! Shannon has been a resident of Star, Idaho for eight years. She moved from southern California to start her non-profit business because she wouldn’t have been able to own the land she always envisioned for an animal sanctuary. She is so glad she made the move because everyone in Idaho is friendly and supportive. She doesn’t feel her organization would have been as successful as it has been had she started it in the big city. Shannon currently owns and operates a full-time pet-sitting business and has been active in dog rescue since 2004.
Shannon is the founder and CEO of Green Heart Rescue. In 2005, she adopted a senior dog named Dasher. Dasher was often lovingly referred to as “Greens” because he wasn’t “ripe”. He had some aggression issues and at the time, Shannon had very little experience with the complexity of dog behavior and health. Dasher also had congestive heart failure. It was through Shannon’s journey with Dasher that she embraced a holistic approach for all of her dogs. Dasher’s aggression decreased, and he lived a year longer than his prognosis. Knowing that many (if not all) senior dog have extra special needs, Shannon wanted to honor Dasher by naming her senior dog rescue after him. Her “Green Dog” with heart problems is the reason she started Green Heart Rescue, with the mission to save dogs that might have more difficulty getting adopted because of their age and health problems.
Green Heart Rescue operates out of the Treasure Valley and saved their first senior dog in June 2018. Since then they have helped about 50 dogs. Green Heart Rescue is purely volunteer based, with about 10 foster families assisting with the animals. Shannon’s hope for the organization is that it will continue to grow with more volunteers and foster families so they can rescue more dogs. With their $1,000 donation, they will be able to save many dogs and care for them properly!
Second Place Winner: Dave W. with Friends Furever Animal Rescue
Our second place winner is Dave W. with Friends Furever Animal Rescue! Dave is from Jerome and has lived in Idaho for 31 years. He is a full-time welder and also works on bikes and ski patrol at Magic Mountain on the weekends. His other full-time job is working with Friends Furever Animal Rescue – a non-profit organization based in Jerome.
They are committed to helping homeless, abandoned, and at-risk animals find happy, furever homes! The pull from high-kill shelters, trap abandoned and feral dogs, and intervene in dog hoarding/neglect situations. They also rehab behavior-challenged dogs and cats. Although they originated in Jerome, the organization operates throughout the entire Magic Valley. They are comprised of approximately 25 volunteers who willingly foster animals on their own time, sometimes more than one animal at a time.
They provide a pet food pantry, dog recovery, medical care a needed, and behavioral support. There are over 50 dogs in rescue right now, and the organization operates solely on donations. Every little bit helps, and we are excited to help with their mission!
Third Place Winner: Paul B. with Swifture Ranch
Our third place Community Pioneer winner is Paul Bennett with Swiftsure Ranch. Paul hails from County Durham, in Northern England. Following graduation from the Durham College of Agriculture, Paul launched a career focused on horsemanship, living history museums, driving and conservation of antique carriages, agriculture and ranch management.
Now he brings his impressive skill set to the world of therapeutic horsemanship, making new opportunities available to those who can benefit most.
Sitting on 191 acres at the base of the Sawtooth Mountain Range, Swiftsure Ranch Therapeutic Equestrian Center is a nonprofit 501(c)3 with a special goal of encouraging the physical, mental and emotional well-being of children and adults with all types of challenges through equine-assisted activities and therapies.
110 riders come to Swiftsure Ranch each week to participate in equine therapeutic riding and learn the skills to adapt to the world around them. This means that lessons are adapted to their unique physical, mental and/or emotional needs. Riding can build character, confidence and self-esteem in our riders, as well as give them opportunities to access the outdoors and recreation.