Volunteers. Eventers know that volunteers are the backbone of our sport. I could go on and on
about the endless things that volunteers do to keep our events up and running – but that is an
article unto itself.
This month I’d like to introduce you to two of Area VII’s most hard-working and faithful
Meet Cindi Carrell and Rick Resto, Area VII’s Volunteers of the Year in both 2017 and 2018.
Rick and Cindi each logged well in excess of 100 hours of volunteer time each year. I can only
imagine how many hours they’ve put in over the years in total!
If you are a competitor in Area VII you are likely very familiar with the smiling faces of these two
amazing volunteers. Organizers know if Rick and Cindi volunteer that they are hard working
and reliable, fellow volunteers love working with them as they are kind, professional and
energetic and perhaps most importantly, as a rider, I know when I see their smiling faces that I
am in good hands. Nervous on the way to bit check for that dressage ride or being told you’re
next up in the jump ring? Cindi’s bright smile and encouraging comments always impart a sense
of calm. “Rick and I both love to help others so volunteering to us is natural. We are both
organizers in life so when we see an opportunity to make something run more smoothly, we are
there to help.”
In their “real” lives, Cindi has been a registered nurse for 34 years. She works in a surgery
center at a Seattle hospital and loves her job and the doctors with whom she works. Rick is a
Chief Information Officer for a large seafood company in Seattle.
Cindi got started in eventing when she bought a horse and the woman who helped her with
training happened to be an event trainer. Cindi and Lindy were always together with the horses
and the rest of us are lucky that Lindy Cogswell brought Cindi into our eventing fold.
Cindi has been competing in eventing off and on since 1988. She tries to compete in five or six
events each year and volunteers at every event in which she competes. She says, “I make
exceptions for volunteering at Aspen and EI - meaning I go and volunteer at them even when I
don’t compete. Rick got into eventing when I wanted him to know what I enjoyed so we went to
the Whidbey Island HT. He loved the horses running fast and jumping into the water. From that
experience he decided I needed a different horse so bought me a new horse. He since has
learned to ride and been super involved with helping me get ready for each stage of the
competition and been there to watch. Recently he has put more hours into volunteering since I
get nervous and pick at how he gets my horse ready. “
When asked why she spends so many hours volunteering at events, Cindi says, “I enjoy
volunteering. I learned about how important it is from Aimee Witherspoon. I find it very
rewarding to help our sport out. Last year when I injured my back, I was able to volunteer more
hours and still be around the wonderful people in our sport. The people of our sport are kind
and gracious. They thank volunteers, but truly it's an honor and privilege to volunteer and help
our sport. Volunteering is also a way for my husband, Rick, to feel involved in the sport. He also
finds it very rewarding and enjoys using the VIP web site for tracking our volunteer hours.”
Volunteering is a family affair for this pair. “Rick's 87-year-old mother understands how
important eventing is to both Rick and I and has spent an entire day on the cross-country course
with us so she could understand why it is important. She came back 3 years in a row!”
When asked “why eventing?”, Cindi responds, “I love eventing because it is a sport where you
do more than one discipline and put it all together on one horse. Eventers love their horses and
have a special bond with them. We have to trust each other will be there in order to safely
navigate the three disciplines. Even on the worse of days, when you have to think about and
believe in another living thing it makes you focus on something beyond yourself and not be so
self-centered, which is what our eventing world teaches us Eventers are amazing. People are
willing to lend you equipment, give positive encouragement, warm me up when no coach can be
found, wipe my boots off for a better appearance and give people a leg up. Really whatever
needs to be done to help and calm people.”
So, what’s in their future in this sport? Cindi has enjoyed competing at the Novice level for
many years, but says she is ready to challenge herself by moving up a level and hopes to
compete both of her horses at training level this season. Naturally she and Rick will continue to
volunteer as much as possible and we look forward to seeing this reliable pair out and about in
Cindi’s ultimate goal is to become a TD. I know that when that time comes, I’ll be honored if she
asks me to write one of her recommendation letters!
Thank you, Cindi and Rick, for all you do!
Sadly, we recently lost Dee Strand, who was very special to many of us in Area VII and who, although intensely private, was also extremely generous, supportive and cared deeply about our sport. Dee was a very special person with a huge heart as well as endless kindness and generosity. She will be greatly missed. Below is her obituary, which was run in The Oregonian Newspaper:
Dorothy Best "Dee" Strand
Dorothy Best 'Dee' Strand
Aug. 15, 1957 - Jan. 19, 2019
Dorothy Best "Dee" Strand passed away Jan. 19, 2019.
Dee was born in Seattle, Wash., and raised in Portland, Ore. After attending Lincoln High School in Portland she received a B.A. in Political Economy from Colorado College (1979) and a B.S. in Psychology from Portland State University (1981). Dee married Mike Slade in 1983 and together they settled in Seattle where they were together for almost 20 years. Dee was a devoted and fiercely loyal mother to her beloved daughters Adrian and Sally. She was happiest in the outdoors, whether it was skiing, backpacking, hiking, exercising, gardening or walking her dog. She also loved literature, cooking, arguments and old movies.
Dee's deepest lifelong passion was horses. She was an avid and accomplished equestrian, especially in the world of three-day eventing. She competed at a high level for many years and then from 2003 to 2017 owned and operated Upson Downs, a world-class eventing barn in Duvall, Wash. At her remembrance, praise was forthcoming not only for the barn but also for the spirit with which she operated, eschewing profits for the best and most nurturing environment. Her unique spirit and attitude will be missed by all.
She was preceded in death by her mother, Pamela Best; and her father, Carl Strand. She leaves behind her amazing daughters; her brother, Nick Strand (Portland); close friends; and an enduring legacy.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Washington Horse Park (www.wahorsepark,org) or the U.S. Equestrian Association Area VII.
Please sign the online guest book at www.oregonlive.com/obits Published in The Oregonian from Feb. 8 to Feb. 16, 2019