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Paying It Forward for Fritz and Softy

The Greenwalds of Efland, N.C., know their horses. In fact, Olive Greenwald — wife of Lew — and their daughter, Emily, enjoyed riding their horses, Fritz and Softy, competitively for a number of years. Fritz was Olive’s dressage and trail horse, and Softy was Emily’s equitation horse.

Things went well, but competitive athletes occasionally must deal with injuries and wear and tear, and that’s also true of equine athletes. And so it came to pass that in 1998, Fritz needed surgery on his hock (a leg joint, for those of you unfamiliar with horse anatomy). The Greenwalds brought him to the NC State Veterinary Hospital, where he underwent successful treatment, allowing Olive and Fritz to compete together for another five years.

In time, both Fritz and Softy passed away, though, and the Greenwalds wanted to do something appropriate to memorialize their longtime competitive partners. Remembering their experience with NC State, they decided to endow the Fritz and Softy Equine Scholarship at the College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) in 2008. While the annual scholarship award can be given to any CVM student, the intention was primarily to fund students specializing in some aspect of equine medicine.

That’s where Zoie Randall, CVM class of 2019, comes in. Zoie grew up in Mooresville, N.C., where she started riding when she was 7. Not only did she ride from an early age, she spent lots of time with horses in need of rehabilitation, working in externships and a variety of similar roles as she got older. In addition, her mother, a small animal veterinarian herself, is a 1987 graduate of the CVM. It was only natural that Zoie would develop an interest in caring for competitive horses. She got her undergraduate degree from NC State in animal science with an eye on one day becoming a vet herself specializing in equine sports medicine, treating patients just like Fritz and Softy. Given that history, it seems almost preordained that Zoie would one day be the recipient of the Fritz and Softy Equine Scholarship.

“I was so thankful! … every dollar helps! It is so nice to see that the university and alumni realize the debt students have to endure to start their dream career and are willing to help!”

That didn’t make it any less exciting or welcome, though. When asked how she reacted when she learned about the scholarship being awarded to her, Zoie says “I was so thankful! … every dollar helps. It is so nice to see that the university and alumni realize the debt students have to endure to start their dream career and are willing to help!”

Even though NC State CVM students enjoy a low-cost tuition in comparison with other top vet schools, and also graduate with lower debt levels, not having to worry quite so much about living expenses and paying off student loans allows students like Zoie to focus more on their studies and less on current and future financial pressures.

Furthermore, studying at NC State allows her to take advantage of world class faculty and resources. For example, she has already had the chance to gain experience learning how to help equine injuries heal faster through stem cell therapy. “There are so many opportunities here,” she says, “and the faculty are always so supportive and helpful.”

And Zoie is particular appreciative of the Greenwalds’ support “Thank you, thank you, thank you! I really appreciate your generosity and I hope to pass along the favor to another student one day.”

The Greenwalds can rest assured that Fritz and Softy’s legacy is paying new dividends every day for the future of equine medicine.

~Steve Volstad/NC State Veterinary Medicine