Jaime Macdonald, who recently graduated from university in Florida, is co-ordinating the annual Kidney Walk in Williams Lake this Sunday.
“I enjoy volunteering my time for really good causes,” Jaime says. “The walk is a great way for a community to come together. It may feel like small work if you can donate $25 but it is helping to save lives.”
Now just 21, Jaime earned her bachelor of science degree in agriculture in the U.S. and returned to the lakecity in August to be closer to her family and the lifestyle here.
Jaime grew up in Williams Lake and started riding when she was about five years old, becoming a serious barrel racer and breakaway roper at age 13.
She completed most of her high school education in Williams Lake, but finished her last year of high school in Fort St. James where her mother was working at the time.
After high school she went to Feather River College in Quincy, California to earn an associate degree in agriculture business. During the two years she was there she was a member of the college rodeo and soccer teams.
She chose agriculture business for her degree because it fit well with her interest in rodeo and the farming/ranching lifestyle.
“I find the growing of food and sustainability to be very interesting,” Macdonald says.
After two years in Quincy she moved to Miami, Florida for two years to finish her bachelor of science degree in agriculture business at Florida Tech.
She still has lots of friends in California and Florida, but she has chosen a job with the U.S. Department of Agriculture which allows her to work from home back here in Williams Lake.
“It was really nice being in Florida but for my interests it didn’t fit with settling there,” Macdonald says.
Her work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture involves marketing and developing new agreements between U.S. producers and grocery stores that focus on increasing production and sale of locally grown food. Her specific area of work is with the production of corn, lettuce and strawberries.
She says the idea is to encourage U.S. growers to increase their food production and encourage grocers to pay a little more for the locally grown food while reducing their reliance on imported food.
In addition to creating local food security the program works to create more local jobs in the U.S.
Most of her work can be done by e-mail and teleconferencing, but when necessary she travels for face-to-face meetings.
The job allows her to live in Williams Lake where she is getting back into barrel racing and breakaway roping.
While she had her own horse in California, she wasn’t able to take her horse to Florida, so while studying there she kept in touch with rodeo by teaching barrel racing and breakaway roping.
Both Jaime and her mother, Norma Macdonald, who is principal at Naghtaneqed School in Nemiah are both active barrel racers and breakaway ropers.
Her grandparents Don and Nancy Macdonald are retired from the log hauling industry.
Jaime says her grandfather was also a calf and breakaway roper and helps them with exercising their horses and their practices.