Purina donates $10,000 to SIUC Horse Research Center

By Gus Bode

The SIUC Horse Research Center is one step closer to repairing the destruction left from the May 8 storm after a donation from Purina Horse Feed.

Sheryl King, director of equine studies, said the inland hurricane of May 8 caused more than $450,000 worth of damage to the Horse Research Center. After sending out several pleas to organizations for donations, King said she was told Purina Horse Feed was sending a $10,000 check in late May or early June.

The Horse Research Center provides homes for unwanted horses and hands-on training for students who want to be in the horse industry. The center also provides research on how to improve the lives of horses, often working with outside companies and corporations on projects.

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King said the research center has done projects and collaborations with Purina in the past, and a connection with a SIUC graduate helped propel the donation.

‘I contacted them, told them what was going on at the horse farm and how needy we were,’ King said. ‘(I) didn’t expect much, but nothing asked nothing gained.’

Mike Jerina, equine unit manager for Purina Mills, said he graduated from the equine program at SIUC and had been contacted by King about the damage from the May 8 storm.

‘I felt terrible about it,’ Jerina said. ‘I kind of went and lobbied a little bit to get the money sent down to SIU to try and help them out because I think they’re headed the right direction and they’re doing the right thing for the horse industry.’

King said money from Purina would go to whatever costs would not be covered by insurance or funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. It’s likely the money would go to either fencing or building repairs, she said.

At the Sept. 10 Board of Trustees meeting, the BOT approved a request from Chancellor Sam Goldman of $4.1 million for repairs needed after the May 8 storm. Goldman said most of that money is insured and would also be reimbursed through FEMA.

King said the $450,000 worth of damages was only for the Horse Research Center and damages to all University Farms properties would cost millions to replace or repair.

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‘It’s a very long process (to rebuild) and at the very worst time in our economy,’ King said. ‘I just came to the conclusion that unless I bootstrap it and try to help myself, I’m not sure how many of these facilities are going to get rebuilt and replaced.’

King said she has received more donations since Purina’s, but she would continue to spread the word and collect as much as possible.

‘I was really surprised – even my horse friends up in Chicago, they never even heard about the storm to begin with,’ King said.

King said anyone interested in making a donation could contact her at 453-1771 or [email protected].

Madeleine Leroux can be reached at 536-3311 ext. 254.

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