A Dream Fulfilled Forever

donor_rootMary (Molly) Bidwell Root’s spirit of philanthropy is everywhere at Mud Creek Farm.

It’s in the creak of the barn doors. In the clunk of hooves on the hay-coated barn floor. It’s in the soft neigh of Trudy, a one-time race horse, donated to the farm for use in their equine-assisted therapy program.

It’s here among the vast lush green hills of Vernon where Molly Root’s gifts first took root, and she committed her time and money to her daughter Alice Root’s passion for horses and equine-assisted therapy.

Molly watched that passion grow and was an influential board member as the program expanded in 2004 to its Verona facility — Root Farm. It’s here, now, that more children and adults challenged by severe physical and emotional difficulties transcend their handicaps through therapy with horses, mules and donkeys.

Molly saw that expansion come to fruition.

“She saw that growth as an extension of our own family,” said her daughter Alice from her kitchen table at Mud Creek Farm, while her three dogs cozied around her. “It was my dream coming to fruition and, for her to be able to see that dream come true, it meant so much to her.”

As important as seeing that dream in her lifetime was the sustainability of that dream in her legacy.

“She knew she was dying and wanted a safety vehicle for this program she had helped me with so much in the beginning,” Alice said. “It gave her a sense of security that, even though she wasn’t going to be here, The Community Foundation would provide the vehicle to ensure the program and her daughter would be OK. And she knew how much this program meant to me.”

Through the Root Family Fund, Molly’s presence and vision still live in the present and will into the future. She is there in the face of the child whose smile is biggest during a lesson with a therapy horse whose care is sustained through the fund she started. She is there in the joy of a boy who has never walked and moves out freely on the back of his horse.

She is there in the hands of a therapist guiding a first-time rider through the barn that now is maintained through the funds she left in her legacy.

“It was in my mother’s nature to give, and I never heard her turn down anyone ever,” Alice said. “She’s still saying yes and she’s still giving even if she’s not physically here. She does it in spirit through The Community Foundation fund she started.”


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