The Kenwood Press
News: 09/01/2016

HALTER Program given FEMA award

Julie Atwood and horse
Glen Ellen’s Julie Atwood will be recognized at the White House for her work with the HALTER Project.

HALTER (Horse & Livestock Team Emergency Response), a Glen Ellen-based grassroots initiative, is a recipient of the 2016 Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Individual and Community Preparedness Award in the Awareness to Action category. This prestigious award is presented annually by FEMA, the U.S. Government agency responsible for emergency response efforts. HALTER also received an Honorable Mention in the Community Preparedness Champions Award category.

HALTER, founded by Glen Ellen resident and rancher Julie Atwood, has a mission to support first responders and community volunteers by providing resources for training, equipment, and fundraising to assist in emergencies involving horses, livestock, and other animals.

The HALTER Project is among 11 recipients of the honor nationwide out of a total of 160 applications from local and state governments, nonprofits, the private sector, community-based organizations, and individuals.

The 11 FEMA Individual and Community Preparedness Award recipients will be recognized on Sept. 13 and 14 in Washington, D.C. Atwood will accept the award at the White House on behalf of HALTER.

“It’s gratifying to have our emergency preparedness efforts recognized by the nation’s top agency responsible for responding to natural and man-made disasters,” said Atwood. “This FEMA award not only validates all our work to date, but hopefully will spur the community to further action to protect our county’s horse and livestock resources in individual emergencies and regional disasters.”

According to Atwood, many communities lack comprehensive plans, resources, and trained responders to address the life-saving needs of large animals in an emergency. She founded HALTER to raise awareness and promote emergency preparedness throughout the west, where wildfires, floods and earthquakes are a constant threat, animals are transported continually for recreational and commercial purposes, and accidents happen every day. Though it was initially focused on Sonoma County, today HALTER has been tapped for mentoring throughout Northern California and other rural regions, where ranching and owning horses and farm animals are fundamental to the region’s culture, economy, and lifestyle.