Publisher’s Note

Photo right: Horses at Southern Sun Farm Sanctuary

Looking Back and Paying It Forward

Twenty-eight years ago, thoughts of creating the first lifestyle magazine in the High Country were scribbled on a napkin at the kitchen table as three young children ran the roost. Also back in 1996, a poignant story of young Kasey, an energetic 15-year-old, was set in motion. How do these stories and timeframes converge?

The napkin stated a mission—to tell the stories of the people, animals and places that make this area magical. To communicate important messages about local non-profit organizations, to give folks a map of where to play in our great outdoors, and where to hear great music, see incredible theatre, dine at spectacular eateries and stay in memorable lodging in these beautiful mountains.

So, to connect the above dots, I am humbled to tell the story of Kasey.

Back in 1996, Kasey, a vibrant animal-loving teenager, was out on a waterfall hike with family and their Golden Retriever, Beau, on their property near Glendale Springs, NC. The energetic pup decided to jump into the rushing waters of a cascading waterfall. Kasey, equally exuberant, jumped in to retrieve Beau. Although Beau survived the 100-ft. plummet over the falls, Kasey did not. Devastated, her parents John and Ann Lisk returned to their home in Florida to recover and work with horse rescue and horse protection agencies.

The call to come back to their property in Ashe County five years later prompted their founding of the non-profit Southern Sun Farm Sanctuary in 2001 to honor the spirit and memory of Kasey’s passion for animals. Their work of rescuing horses, ponies, donkeys, and even dogs from desperation and near death became a living testament to Kasey’s spirit.
Our writer, Steve York, initially shared the touching story of Kasey and her family in our Autumn 2014 edition. Then last fall, we heard about their need to build a barn and expand their operation due to the growing demand for neglected animals to find a place of respite and recovery. Steve once again penned an article in our Autumn 2023 edition to re-tell their story.

CML recently learned that because of our story last fall, an anonymous philanthropic do-nor made a $100,000 donation to Southern Sun Farm Sanctuary. The generous donor said, “I read CML cover to cover whenever I come up to NC. After reading the article about Southern Sun Farm Sanctuary, I was inspired and felt there was a real need. If there was some way that I could contribute, I wanted to help make that happen.” The Lisks lauded CML readers as doers who want to make a positive difference.

In light of this news, the CML team wants to thank not only this amazing donor, but our large readership for picking us up for the past 27 years and responding to the call to support those in need here in our area. Within these pages you will see other amazing groups that are making a tremendous impact in our community, to include the High Country Charitable Foundation, High Country Caregivers, Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture, and Spirit Ride Therapeutic Riding Center, among others.

So, from our humble beginnings in the kitchen with three young children running around, we are deeply moved that our stories continue to touch the lives of the people of our great mountain home.

For more information or to donate to Southern Sun Farm Sanctuary, visit southernsunfarm. com. And click on to view our story in the Autumn 2023 issue and to check out our growing directory of non-profit organizations.

~ Babette

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