The man with the hat is Dan Horner, and he serves as the Seamark Ranch Facilities Coordinator. A native of North Dakota, Dan grew up learning a lot of the skills he needs to run a ranch, but he shares that at Seamark Ranch, the mission is much greater than that. “I pray that the kids we have here, and the ones that have been and are yet to come here, see that we are trying to teach them life skills for their future. We want to instill a solid work ethic for the benefit of their future.”
And that is where Dream of Better comes in. The Dream of Better word that Dan chose for the Seamark children is RESPONSIBILITY. Dan explains, “Because that is what builds character in these kids. It has been a blessing to see the changes in the kids that have been here for some time. We all have learned patience and have gotten closer to God, because no one can do this without God’s help.”
One area that Dan is particularly proud of, and involved with, is the one-acre blueberry patch. This year, Seamark is having a record harvest of blueberries, having already exceeded last year’s record harvest of 850 pounds. People can come for U-Pick on Saturdays, 9:00am-Noon, or call 904-529-1951 to arrange another time to pick—through the entire month of May. Seamark children, house parents and volunteers also pick, so people can buy blueberries that are already packaged to go home. Sale of the blueberries helps to fund the Boys’ and Girls’ Homes’ summer vacations, so Dan’s Dream of Better word, RESPONSIBILITY, becomes real in the blueberry patch.
Dan and his wife, Mary (along with their two children, Christian and Sarah), first came to Seamark Ranch as house parents. Fred Meiners had arranged to donate a pool, from the ranch, to Dan’s church. Dan was sent to pick it up, and while he was there, Fred gave him a tour. Like many others, Dan recognized the need for a place like Seamark…a place that provides stability, safety, love and family. So, it wasn’t long afterwards that Dan and his family became part of the Seamark family.
Dan sums it up, “This is not an easy task—teaching kids—but it is rewarding.”