Who Is Donna Marshall? She is an accomplished horsewoman, wife, mother and friend extraordinaire. She is also the 2013 recipient of USHWAs January Davies Humanitarian Award. This annual honor is bestowed upon an individual or a group who has strong connections to harness racing for their works outside the harness racing industry
Marshall's quiet heroism reaches beyond her equine and human family. Several years ago, a prominent horse trainer named John Bown passed away at a young age. Months later, his wife Nancy also passed away, leaving behind two young girls, Maja and Jess Bown.
In a particularly unselfish act, Marshall stepped in and embraced the girls into her home. To this day, the girls are very much a part of Marshall's life and will always be grateful for the guidance and support she has provided throughout the years.
In another instance, many years ago, Marshall had become a friend of a groom who at the time was working for Eddie Cobb. He went by the name, Doc, and did not have any relatives or friends throughout his life. Doc has since aged and is currently living in a shelter suffering daily struggles both financially and physically. Marshall continues to visit Doc on a regular basis and provides him with food, clothing, and that beautiful, bright sense of self worth that she offers to everyone.
Just another act of kindness that would go unnoticed by everyone except the recipient. Regularly, perhaps even too regularly, Marshall donates blood and volunteers at several hospitals.
Marshall is also very active with several organizations in which her efforts are endless. She is a member of the USTA, Standardbred Pleasure Horse Organization, Standardbred Retirement Foundation, PHHA, SBOA, SOA, just to name a few. Her rescue efforts throughout the retired race horses are too many to name. "Sleep Easy" a winner of over $650,000 life has now found a home in Marshall's backyard for the remainder of his life.
Marshall is the type of person that does things for the right reason and not necessarily for any recognition. She hates being the center of attention and rarely will ever ask for help. Director of racing at Freehold Raceway, Karen Fagliarone states, "Donna is just one of those kind of people that makes everyone around her a better person. She is the most unselfish person I have ever known, and I am honored to be called her friend."
Working alongside her husband Jim, Donna has been the linchpin of the Marshall stable since 1977. Not just the owners and operators of their own business, the Marshalls are proud parents of two successful children, Kelly (27) and Jim (28 ).
Marshall will receive her award at the Dan Patch Awards Night of Champions on Feb. 23 at Dover Downs. For ticket information check the US Harness Writers website: ushwa.org. (USHWA)