The Official Website of the
2016 Volunteer of the Year Finalists
CARE Animal Rescue Volunteers
My nomination for Project Puppy for “Volunteer of the Year” is the team of volunteers at C.A.R.E. Animal Rescue. C.A.R.E.’s group of around 80 volunteers are essential to C.A.R.E.’s ability to achieve its mission. Volunteers are relied on at both of our Adoption Centers and C.A.R.E.’s Sanctuary in Aurora, MO. There are many volunteer duties which directly help the animals being cared for including exercising them, preparing food, cleaning their kennels, adoption counseling, bathing them, transporting for grooming, helping with fund raising events, transporting them to the vet for medical attention, transporting for spaying and neutering, helping with the laundry at all the locations, helping with fund raising events, and most important showing what being loved is while they wait to be adopted into their forever homes. They work tirelessly from 7 am to 8 pm every day to make sure all the animals have the love and care needed until they find forever homes. Volunteers also assist in educational presentations, training sessions with shelter animals and fostering some in their homes who have daily medical needs. Presentations provide general information regarding the mission of C.A.R.E., as well as sharing stories which demonstrate C.A.R.E.'s success in rescuing, rehabilitating and finding permanent families for rescued animals while teaching safe handling techniques of animals and ways to help the animals at C.A.R.E’s shelters. Some volunteers have been there a short time, others upwards of 9+ years. C.A.R.E’s group of volunteers should ALL be recognized as a “Volunteer of the Year”!
Julie Overend Dawson
Julie Overend Dawson started PAWS Pet Pantry in Springfield three years ago. The goal is to help pets of the homeless and low income with food, basic vetting services, treats, toys, leashes/harnesses and basic pet needs that aren't always affordable for people on limited to no budget. It's a temporary service to help people get back on their feet when live tries to knock them down. The ultimate goal is to keep families from having to surrender their life-long pet to a shelter just because they temporary lost their job or have medical bills to pay. This helps keep the local shelters from overflowing with pets. In addition to being the founder of PAWS, Julie juggles her home life and rescuing special-needs great danes. She is an absolutely amazing woman.
I nominate my friend Leslie Sawyer for Volunteer of the Year. Leslie moved here with her partner Bill Stoll in 2010, with a vision of creating a no-kill rescue and sanctuary for cats. The rescue began in a converted barn outfitted with large rooms for free-roaming cats. Her reputation and rescue rapidly grew, and Eden Animal Haven became a full 501(c)(3) non-profit in 2014, followed by Missouri licensure in 2016. EAH has taken in over 250 cats and kittens, and earlier this year assisted with an urgent rescue operation from a hoarding situation. She gets to know each cat intimately to make the best possible adoptive match. To date she has sustained a stellar adoption rate with over 200 cats placed. This was a particular challenge in 2015-16 because of the diagnosis and treatment of her fiancé (and sole volunteer) Bill with stage 4 cancer. (Bill is doing well and working as hard as ever!) Leslie also works in another demanding role as a therapist for traumatized youth at the Good Samaritan Boys Ranch. She also volunteers on the board of SAAF Spay/Neuter clinic and is an active member of the Ozark Mountain Parrot Head philanthropic club. And reflective of her deep concern for all animals, she also organized a monthly vegan potluck for several years. In October, Leslie and Bill will marry! I am hoping that this award is the most meaningful wedding gift I can give to her, as well as to her loving companion Bill.
CARE Animal Rescue
Julie Overend Dawson
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