Say hello to the fierce Emily Link, our July Volunteer of the Month! Emily is an amazing volunteer who helps with groundskeeping and animal care! Emily is always going above and beyond, whether she is mowing trails in the pasture for the summer campers or providing loving care to the 110+ rescued farm animals who call our sanctuary home. She also donated our riding lawn mower, which we could not live without! Emily does it all, and she does it with spunk and a sense of humor. Thank you, Emily, for all you do for Heartland and for keeping the sanctuary in tip-top shape! We are honored that you’re part of our team!

1. What do you do in your time outside of Heartland? I’m retired, but I work at Gilda’s Club as a group facilitator for people with cancer or people who are helping those with cancer so that one does not have to face cancer alone. I’ve been there for nine years and I’m still there. Music is very important to me to stay engaged in the world so I play clarinet and I play in a band and I also play saxophone in a band. Whether it’s with a group or playing duets, music is good for the soul – the way Heartland is good for the soul.

2. How did you find out about Heartland? What got you interested? I’ve known about Heartland since its inception. I think I read about Heartland in the Sunday Wisconsin Journal. But it was when (fellow volunteer) Mary Severson pursued Heartland and then I followed in her footsteps. And then I needed a place to put my John Deere riding mower. I had to have a home for the mower – and I still get to play with it! And that’s what I appreciate about Heartland – just being able to come out here and do my thing and be part of the natural world.

3. Can you describe a favorite/memorable moment or event at HFS? When it’s 35 below and before the days of hot water! And literally washing dishes in ice water. Yes – that is something I do not need to repeat. That was my first winter. Also some of my memorable moments involve bathing Baine – that was one of my early assignments. That was special, caring for him and being part of his care team. 

4. What is your favorite part about volunteering for HFS? It’s a space where I can come and feel it’s a sanctuary also. Not only for the animals, but also for animals like me.

5. What do you wish other people knew about Heartland? Really the same thing. It’s really being at peace with the animals and with the environment and we’re all working together.

6. If you could adopt only one HFS animal, who would you pick and why? Esther – because she’s the right size, and she has the right attitude!

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