|Gene with Hearts volunteers Thom Bateman and Harry Vant Erve|
Have you heard that Hearts has a brand new, bright blue tractor? Purchased with grants from the Weingart Foundation and the Outhwaite Foundation, the tractor was a dream- come-true for many at Hearts – and especially for Gene Granaroli.
For 6 years, Gene faithfully maintained a 40-year-old tractor that was donated to Hearts by Jean Schuyler in 1985. In constant need of repair, the ancient tractor eventually became completely unusable. Undaunted, Gene purchased the useless tractor from Hearts, made the necessary repairs himself, and loaned it back to Hearts, free-of-charge.
Gene’s generosity enabled us to maintain our corrals, arenas, pastures and roads while seeking the funds to purchase a new tractor. When the tractor arrived, Gene inspired Equine Evacuation, a local horse rescue organization, to purchase and build a shelter to give it a new home. Thank you, Equine Evac!
Since childhood, Gene has loved all things mechanical. His family grew vegetables on an acre of farmland, where Gene first learned to drive a tractor. He was 12 years old when his father bought him his first car – a Model A Ford. Since the car did not run, Gene, spent a year acquiring parts and re-building the engine with the help of his pals and a local mechanic. Years later, Gene owned and operated Gene’s Auto Repair on Milpas Street, a thriving business for 43 years.
|Gene with his son Mark and the worn-out tractor!|
Gene has helped Hearts in countless ways over the years. Along with his son Mark, Gene helped construct the shelters in our horse corrals and built the wheelchair ramp for our Learning Center. He is always ready to transport horses, fix fences, or serve in any way that’s needed. We are truly grateful to Gene for his selfless service and years of dedication to our program.