Giving Gifts That Outlast a Lifetime

Donor Janet Breeden Does It for the Children

In 2022, Janet Breeden was on the edge of her seat at the Boys Ranch Rodeo, eagerly waiting for the first rider to enter the arena.

She loves the banners, the flag, the music, the horses, the rodeo events and the excitement of the crowd.

Mrs. Breeden celebrated her 29th Boys Ranch Rodeo in 2022, and she cherishes her memory of each one – but even more than the rodeo and the horses and the rest of the event – Mrs. Breeden loves the children.

She wants to share what she has with them, and the rodeo is an opportunity to see the children she has helped in person.

“If it has to do with kids, I’m for it,” Mrs. Breeden said with a laugh. “Yeah, anything that has to do with the kids. The first time I was ever out there, I just fell in love with everything about it – the ranch, the kids and the adults who care for them.”

Janet Breeden grew up riding horses, including in parades.
Janet Breeden grew up riding horses, including in parades.

‘This Is Worth Fighting For’

“Let’s say I’ve ridden horses since before I could remember, because my mom said my dad took me in the saddle in front of him before I could walk,” Mrs. Breeden said. “So I don’t know anything else but riding horses.”

Horses are a passion Mrs. Breeden shared with her husband, the late Melvin Breeden. They had a small herd of well-bred American Paint Horse mares, and in 1995, the Breedens donated a nice gelding, gentle enough for children to ride. Later, they gave a couple of mares.

In the late 1980s, the Breedens went to a rodeo in Clarendon, Texas, where they saw the Boys Ranch Honor Patrol ride in the grand entry. They were intrigued enough to go to their first Boys Ranch Rodeo. It was the start of a tradition.

Every year until Melvin Breeden’s death, they attended the Boys Ranch Rodeo. After that, Mrs. Breeden continued going to the rodeo, almost always taking friends to recruit them as Boys Ranch supporters.

“We were married 11 years, one month and 10 days,” Mrs. Breeden said. “We got kind of recycled late in life. It was the happiest time.”

Melvin Breeden served in the military for more than 20 years, first in Korea and then as a helicopter pilot in Vietnam.

“One day, we were out at Boys Ranch, and he said, ‘This is worth fighting for,’” Mrs. Breeden said.

Gifts From the Heart

Mrs. Breeden kept attending the rodeo, both in his honor and because she just loved it.

“And I am in the process now of transferring an annuity to Boys Ranch,” she said. “I mean, the kids still eat! They still need everything, you know?”

Gifts outlast a lifetime, she said.

“The children are the future of our country, and all of them deserve every opportunity to fulfill their potential,” Breeden said. “I’m 92. I don’t have a great long future. I want to leave something tangible. To me, money is only good for what good it can do.”

Her truck is 20 years old, she said, and some people might use the money to buy a new one, but she hasn’t.

“It wouldn’t change me a bit,” she said. “And the Lord just keeps blessing me. Every time I donate, the Lord just brings me something else.”

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