Jessie Christopherson

by Emily from North Sioux City

“The outside of a horse is good for the inside of a child.” - Will Rogers
Jessie with Baby Dori (Sent by Jessie)
Jessie with Baby Dori (Sent by Jessie)

What exactly is a hero? According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, one definition of a hero is "a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent, endowed with great strength or ability." However, I do not agree with this definition. I believe a hero is someone who makes other people's lives better. My hero is not a mythical figure, but a real person. She is constantly working to help other people achieve their dreams. Jessie Christopherson helps enrich disabled people's lives, and she is my hero.

I admire Jessie because she is constantly helping people from all walks of life. I met her when I began volunteering at the Special Troopers Adaptive Riding School (STARS). She greeted me with a smile, and I realized how much that smile could really brighten a day. All the kids and adults enjoy being around her because she has such a caring attitude. They just like talking to her and hearing what she has to say. Whenever Jessie goes to give a rider a high-five, their face just lights up and they're bursting with pride. Kids, who couldn't walk or barely talk, have something to look forward to when life just seems to be getting them down. Jessie is helping them achieve dreams that may not have been possible otherwise.

Jessie began working with the STARS program when she was in junior high in Sioux City. Her mom eventually became one of the instructors, so it became a family pasttime. After college, Jessie returned to the program and was employed as a much-needed riding instructor. Not long after, she became the marketing director. Now people of all walks can take lessons from her.

Not only is Jessie involved with horseback riding, but she also works with therapy dogs. She got involved when she realized her dog had a good personality that could work well with traumatized people. She brought her dog with her to college, where he was used to help abused kids open up. Now she takes her labrador retriever to hospitals and is working to tie therapy dogs into the STARS program.

Jessie Christopherson may not give the air of a superhero, but she is one to many people. She has a reserve of never-ending patience and encouragement. She always puts other people before herself. Even if someone is causing problems, she gives them multiple opportunities to change their behavior before ending their activities for the night. Jessie got where she is today by being active in the community, and not waiting for something to happen. She never just sits around; she is constantly an active, dynamic hero because, "A static hero is a public liability. Progress grows out of motion."-Richard E. Byrd.

Page created on 8/2/2014 2:54:18 PM

Last edited 1/5/2017 4:56:51 PM

Related Links

- provides the experience of therapeutic and recreational horseback riding to persons with disabilities. Therapeutic riding teaches patience, cooperation, control, and what it means to achieve.
- The designation of “support animals” has expanded from the well-known use of guide dogs for the blind to a larger number of animals used as support for people with a variety of needs.

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