"The Extra Mile" - July, 2012 - Michelle Heitz of Fort Wayne

By Linda Jackson

July 11, 2012 Updated Jul 11, 2012 at 8:32 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - The Native American word "Shadarobah" means "May the future be better than the past."

In Allen County, there's a horse rescue by the same name.

Volunteers Tracy Nash and her 13 year old daughter, Tiffany, nominated Shadarobah's founder and president, Michelle Heitz for this month's "The Extra Mile" award.

They say Michelle's love for all animals inspires them.

Shadarobah opened nearly four-years ago with a-dozen horses and with a mission of adopting out the horses that come in.

Right now, there are 39 from all kinds of situations including neglect, divorce and owners who can't afford all that it takes to care for a horse.

Michelle says this place wasn't planned. It just "happened."

Staying afloat is often day to day, and she says she couldn't do it without a constant team of volunteers like Tracy and Tiffany.

Michelle Heitz says, "We could have 20 people here for 12 to 15 hours a day and not run out of work to do."

Tracy Nash says, "It's helped my daughter along with the bullying issues that she's got going on. She's had depression, and she's a horse lover, so she comes out here when she can, when she's feeling up to it. Whether she's watering the horses or grooming them or just spending time with them, it helps her because these horses don't judge you."

Tiffany Nash says, "Michelle? She's just one of those people that you can just go up to, and you don't even have to know her, and she greets you. She's done everything for these horses. She's given them a home, food. She's loved them no matter what."

Michelle Heitz says, "Sometimes I ask myself, 'Are you out of your mind? Why are you doing this?' But all I have to do is walk out and look into any pair of eyes out here

Michelle says she was floored by the nomination and welcomes volunteers, donations of money, food and supplies.

She also says there could be 20 more facilities in the area like hers, and they wouldn't be enough.

Her most rewarding moments are seeing how the horses impact people.

You can nominated someone who goes the "Extra Mile" on our website under the Features tab.




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