Heather's medical fund

$29,633 of $30k goal

Raised by 246 people in 27 days
Krys Langevin
on behalf of Heather Gast
 LAWTON, OK
Heather Gast was in a head on collision on 1/30/2017. She severely broke both of her legs at the ankle. She will be going into surgery later tonight. She has many animals (dogs, cats, birds, and horses) that need to be taken care of.  She will be unable to work for quite some time. While most medical expenses will be covered by the at fault driver there will be continued medical and daily living expenses that will need to be covered. Any and all unused funds will be donated to the Falconry Fund.
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Update 5
Posted by Krystofer Langevin
21 days ago
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Average Jo: Heather Gast

D. Scott Shultz

Heather Gast hated high school. She felt she didn’t fit in. Extracurricular activities included the marching band and the Environmental Club, but she preferred exploring the woods with her yellow Labrador, Misty and observing wildlife: a barred owl feeding its young, a fox dragging a rabbit back to its den. Her math skills were not what she hoped for, but she enjoyed her biology class.

But something happened in biology class that changed Heather’s life: she met a man named Frank Taylor. Her teacher, who liked to push his students to think outside the classroom and into the future, invited Mr. Taylor to speak to the class about his passion: Raptors. Birds of prey.

Inspired, the biology students dove into an assignment for the Raptor Resource Project, building and installing a peregrine falcon nest box on the smokestack of the power plant in Alma, WI. “It’s still up there,” says Heather, “and has had nesting peregrines since 1997. Pretty proud of that!”

Heather had never been a hunter, but when Taylor spoke of “…hunting with birds off horseback over pointing dogs, something clicked!”

Hounds, Horses and Hawks

Since that fateful meeting with Taylor, thirty-seven year old Heather has fervently chased that click: she owns and has trained five horses, she runs English Setters for both hunting and field trials (and occasionally officiates the trials) from horseback, and she hunts with shotgun and trained hawks. “Redtail hawks, Harris' Hawks, Peregrine falcon, Barbary falcon, goshawk, and multiple hybrids.”

Heather’s love of animals helped point her down the career path of animal husbandry early on. She has worked in veterinarians’ offices off and on since she was fifteen years old – her first job, in fact. “I wanted to be a vet – but my math skills were not going to allow it! Every vet that I have gotten to know has asked why I didn’t go to school and do this on my own.”

But Heather hasn’t let those math skills stop her. That biology teacher would be proud to know Heather has definitely stepped outside the box when it comes to career choices. “I worked for Steve Martin of Natural Encounters (a company specializing in animal training for zoos) for three years, managed a dog training kennel for six years and have worked with all of my own critters. And then the oddball job – worked in an accounting office for nearly eight years, not an accountant, but learned plenty!” Perhaps she miscalculated her math skills.

To pay the bills these days, Heather has succeeded in putting her passion for falcons to work: she performs bird abatement services, helping to clear airports and golf courses of pest birds in Washington, Missouri, Minnesota, and Ohio, by flying trained falcons over the area.

A Life Changer

It would be easy to say Heather is living a country girl’s – or boy’s – dream: Montana mountains, horses, dogs, fly-fishing trout streams, hunting with falcons and shotgun – “I may get to bow-hunting this year!” But it’s just as easy to wonder if she is distracting herself from pain in her life.

“There are definitely issues that have transformed my life in not such a good way. My mom and dad divorced when I was two and my dad was absent most of my childhood.” Only within the last five years has Heather had any kind of a relationship with him. And because of his health, “I will never have the opportunity to get any kind of resolution of why things happened the way they did. I have made a choice to accept him for what he is and be grateful that I can still have him in my life even in a minor role.”

Heather admits to having trust issues related to her childhood, issues that she is convinced have been part of the reason for her failed relationships, including the one that brought her to Montana from Minnesota. “I never realized how much it affected me until the last five months.”

“I have come through just about every other obstacle and feel confident that I have learned and made my life better. I am not sure why or how I have been in the bad relationships I have been in, but it’s something that I am going to give some serious thought and effort, too! I am not getting any younger and I don’t want to spend the next 37 years by myself.

“I do think that most guys look at me and think ‘Holy cow...she's awesome...she hunts and fishes and loves the outdoors’. The reality of it is that they can’t handle it. For whatever reason I become a threat or competition or it’s just plain old not what they thought it would be. I have gone out of my way to explain the things that are a part of my life and how important they are. I don’t know if they either don’t take me seriously or think they can handle it. But it always changes and I get to the situation I am currently in.”

Heather’s recent experiences have opened her eyes to an adventure she had never considered in her life. “I have never given much thought to the idea of having children until recently. I was never in a stable enough relationship to even think that it could be a possibility!” But Heather now says that has all changed. “I would like to be a mom, whether my own or by adoption…just the realization though, was a huge life changer.”

In the meantime, Heather recognizes she can influence children with her love of nature. “Because I don’t have my own kids I hope that I have a positive impact on my niece and nephews’ lives. They are so very important to me. I hope that I can give them a much greater appreciation for the natural world and the outdoors!”

Dreams

Heather has proven she knows how to kick the dust off her boots and move on to the next adventure. She’s planning trips to Australia, and Bristol, England. Also on her bucket list is a little activity she read about in a book called “A Sporting Chance”: hunting with trained cheetahs. “Almost as cool as falconry!”

Her dream vacation? “A tour of the west and southwest with dogs, horses and birds! A serious attempt and the best possible hunting you could have, either with gun or bird! If you have seen the movie, Big Year...that concept but with hunting…that might just happen!”

Heather’s enthusiasm for the many “distractions” in her life leaves little doubt that she will make it happen. Someday.
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Update 4
Posted by Krystofer Langevin
24 days ago
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Attention club presidents and officers: the Arizona Falconers Association has donated $500 to Heather's fund, and AFA president Charlie Kaiser has challenged every club in the country to match it.
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Update 3
Posted by Krystofer Langevin
25 days ago
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From Heather's mom

I want to express how very thankful I am for ALL of Heathers extended Falconry and Dog familys!!! A very Special thanks to Krys Langevin , John Mahoney and Patrick Flannegan and Heather's sister Angela Bischke. The comments and the love coming from all of you is so heart warming and lets me know how very special my Heather feather is to all of you! Your generosity is overwhelming and so very appreciated!!! Thank you doesn't seem to cover how my heart feels....but Thank you from the bottom of my heart! Heathers mom Colleen

I want to add that Michelle Bierma, Manny Carrasco, and Jeff Redig have also been instrumental in getting all this going.
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Update 2
Posted by Krystofer Langevin
26 days ago
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I have to say I am absolutely blown away by the support of both the Falconry and Dog community that Heather belongs to. In her words y'all are truly family. My heart goes out to every last one of you that have donated. I am floored by the amount of money that has been raised in less than 24 hours. That being said keep it coming.
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Read a Previous Update
James Gregory Thomas
26 days ago
1
1

Heather, you know me and my family have been down this road. Perseverance, patience, prayers (your own and those fom who love and care about you) and trust in God will see you through this. Ellie and I are here any time we can help. Call, text, email or message any time.

+ Read More
Nan Peterson
24 days ago

Heather I don't know u personally but I wish u God's speed in your healing. Hang in there, it will be better.

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Colleen Banghart
25 days ago

I want to express how very thankful I am for ALL of Heathers extended Falconry and Dog familys!!! A very Special thanks to Krys Langevin , John Mahoney and Patrick Flannegan and Heather's sister Angela Bischke. The comments and the love coming from all of you is so heart warming and lets me know how very special my Heather feather is to all of you! Your generosity is overwhelming and so very appreciated!!! Thank you doesn't seem to cover how my heart feels....but Thank you from the bottom of my heart! Heathers mom Colleen

+ Read More
Jeff Kalina
26 days ago

Heather, It was such a delight meeting you this weekend and I am so sorry you had this accident. I wish we had some extra funds to contribute but we do not. I can and will do whatever is needed to help with your 13 dogs including taking in 2-3 at our house. Please let me know if that helps any. I can pick them up wherever. Keep those beautiful blue eyes smiling. You will be fine I know as you are tough!! Best, Jeff Kalina

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Joel Robinson Lambe
26 days ago

Heather, you are an amazing lady! I hope your recovery is smooth and you are back to rock-in it real soon. Hugs and Love to you!

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Hubert Quade
26 days ago

Wishing you a quick recovery and back in the saddle again soon...

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Sandy Finkenaur Guethling
26 days ago

We love you Heather! You are in our thoughts and prayers. The Guethlings (Sandy, Sara, Derek and Rylynn)

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$29,633 of $30k goal

Raised by 246 people in 27 days
Created January 30, 2017
Krys Langevin  
on behalf of Heather Gast
$500
Anonymous
2 days ago
BM
$100
Brian Mutch
3 days ago
DP
$100
Doug Peik
3 days ago
JJ
$250
Jassen Jackman
3 days ago

Get better soon. The world needs more of your smiles.

KK
$50
Ken Knutson
4 days ago

Friend of the Mackenthun family wishing you the very best recovery.

PB
$250
Paul Burns
4 days ago

We've never met; but, NAFEX says you're good people. That's good enough for me.

MM
$25
Melissa McElhannon
5 days ago
JW
$100
John White
7 days ago
RW
$25
Robert Wighton
9 days ago

Dear Heather Get well soon.Our prayers go with you. Dr Bob

JL
$100
Joseph Leyda
12 days ago
James Gregory Thomas
26 days ago
1
1

Heather, you know me and my family have been down this road. Perseverance, patience, prayers (your own and those fom who love and care about you) and trust in God will see you through this. Ellie and I are here any time we can help. Call, text, email or message any time.

+ Read More
Nan Peterson
24 days ago

Heather I don't know u personally but I wish u God's speed in your healing. Hang in there, it will be better.

+ Read More
Colleen Banghart
25 days ago

I want to express how very thankful I am for ALL of Heathers extended Falconry and Dog familys!!! A very Special thanks to Krys Langevin , John Mahoney and Patrick Flannegan and Heather's sister Angela Bischke. The comments and the love coming from all of you is so heart warming and lets me know how very special my Heather feather is to all of you! Your generosity is overwhelming and so very appreciated!!! Thank you doesn't seem to cover how my heart feels....but Thank you from the bottom of my heart! Heathers mom Colleen

+ Read More
Jeff Kalina
26 days ago

Heather, It was such a delight meeting you this weekend and I am so sorry you had this accident. I wish we had some extra funds to contribute but we do not. I can and will do whatever is needed to help with your 13 dogs including taking in 2-3 at our house. Please let me know if that helps any. I can pick them up wherever. Keep those beautiful blue eyes smiling. You will be fine I know as you are tough!! Best, Jeff Kalina

+ Read More
Joel Robinson Lambe
26 days ago

Heather, you are an amazing lady! I hope your recovery is smooth and you are back to rock-in it real soon. Hugs and Love to you!

+ Read More
Hubert Quade
26 days ago

Wishing you a quick recovery and back in the saddle again soon...

+ Read More
Sandy Finkenaur Guethling
26 days ago

We love you Heather! You are in our thoughts and prayers. The Guethlings (Sandy, Sara, Derek and Rylynn)

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