“I want to write about that,” I said, as I often do upon hearing about something I think sounds interesting, fun, and that the world would benefit from. The response from my new friend Bradley Francis, who I met a few weeks ago at a Wailers concert in Amagansett and again at Sunset Beach on Shelter Island, was “Okay, we’ll get you on a flight with us tomorrow.” Minutes later, his friend asked me a few questions and I was confirmed from LGA to ATL the next afternoon.
This is not the norm for me, in the last 15 years anyway, and especially when I’m scheduled to work. I took full advantage of the opportunity, though, to use personal time to witness my new acquaintance rescue a horse farm in Georgia.
The farm is called Dream Power, appropriately in my view. Because of the efforts of this young philanthropist, the dream of its dreamer — to offer therapeutic services with horses that help children and young adults with a multitude of disabilities from paralysis to emotional issues — was kept alive. My friend benefited himself, as well, from the giving feeling and his connection with the horses there.
We stopped on the way to the airport to wire money that was needed immediately, then we were off to the farm to meet the volunteers and the horses.
We listened to success stories from a counselor there, who is working as part of a program that helps victims of abuse and trauma. The farm’s founder shared stories of autistic children who have been transformed in the presence of the four-legged beings.
During our travels, I mentioned that there was a similar farm in Sagaponack, and Bradley said without hesitation, “I’d like to help them too.” He suggested I reach out and offer solar panels to them courtesy of his Georgia business.
Although this golden win-win opportunity was discovered via Facebook, I will not praise the social media gods once again in this column. Who I would like to take this space and opportunity to appreciate at the moment are those who might be considered “summer people,” my inspiration being one from south of the Mason-Dixon line who reminded me about Southern hospitality.
For sure, the increased numbers bring more traffic and fewer parking spots, loud music and mass gatherings and less private beach time. Personally, I welcome opportunities to dance and socialize, especially with an increased diversity of thoughts, music, and even attire that brings splashes of color and inspiration. We can all use more music and fewer boundaries and separation between “us” and “them” in any form.
I also remind myself of their support of businesses that would not otherwise exist for us year-rounders.
I am grateful for networking opportunities, too, from visitors such as this one, who brought me a chance to have fun while I shared a glimpse of those who are making a difference. In an ideal world, this is what I would be doing with most of my time.
“Did I tell you we’re going to Africa in October?” Bradley asked the next Sunday, in almost the same spot at Sunset Beach. When I snapped out of my jaw-dropping awe from words such as “helping,” “orphanage,” and “solar,” I simply replied, “I will get my passport ready.”
Who knows . . . maybe I will be a summer person, too.
Carrie Ann Salvi is a reporter for The Star.