Top Volunteers of 2021 Honored

OHS volunteers recognized for their compassion and kindness

Exceptional volunteers who go above and beyond were honored by the Oregon Humane Society including Debbie Chain, recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award. Debbie has been a dedicated volunteer for 21 years and is particularly skilled at working with dogs with special behavioral needs.

In 2020 and 2021, more than 4,200 volunteers (including corporate and group volunteers) gave their time, talents, and love to the pets at OHS. In the past two year, OHS volunteers gave more than 470,000 hours which is the equivalent of 226 full time employees. These compassionate individuals work in every area of the shelter; walking dogs, socializing cats, cleaning kennels, teaching pets good manners, staffing events and helping with administrative tasks.

“Our volunteers have been invaluable in helping OHS get through the past two years,” says Sharon Harmon, OHS President and CEO. “Being able to gather in person again and celebrate their amazing achievements was incredible.”

During the awards ceremony held at the Holiday Inn in Portland, OHS awarded special recognition to volunteers and one staff member (chosen by the volunteers) in 17 categories. Harmon presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to Debbie Chin of SE Portland; Legendary Leadership Award to Jennifer Watson of SW Portland; and the Volunteer of the Year Award to Kallie Thomas of NW Portland.

Top honors


Legendary Leadership Award

Jennifer Watson

The Legendary Leadership Award honors a volunteer who has helped train others on animal handling skills, procedures, and shelter philosophy so that each volunteer has tools and confidence needed to succeed.

Jennifer works well with the shy cats, especially those who need a little encouragement on the adoption floor. She worked side-by-wide with Animal Care Technicians in the cattery and teaches feline enrichment to the volunteers.


Volunteer of the Year

Kallie Thomas

Our Volunteer of the Year award honors someone we consider indispensable. Without this kind of volunteer, we would not be able to do some of the critical work that is needed to save lives. This is someone who stands out in numerous ways throughout the year and makes a huge contribution.

Kallie Thomas has been volunteering at OHS since 2014 and works in a variety of areas of the shelter. She walks dogs and helps with their socialization, works with clients to find the right pet, and assists at special events. She is an excellent advocate for the animals and does a wonderful job at spreading the word about the good work of OHS throughout the community. Her amazing personality and positive outlook are always so contagious.


Lifetime Achievement Award

Debbie Chin

This award recognizes those individuals who have given an enormous amount of time and energy to OHS and the animals over the years. They have made lasting and worthwhile contributions to the shelter through their extraordinary service and love of animals.

Debbie began volunteering more than 19 years ago in 2003 and has donated almost 3,000 hours to OHS since she started. She devotes all her time at OHS to making sure the dogs are walked, cared for, and their kennels are cleaned. She knows how to make sure their stay is a comfortable one.

Debbie is particularly skilled at working with dogs with special behavior needs, including those who need extra exercise. She also enjoys helping the dogs under the Behavior Modification program.

Full list of honorees:

Cat’s Meow:  Kazuyo Ito

Client Companion: Pamela Lord

Faithful Companion: Ward Preble

Faithful Companion (In Memoriam): Paul DuCommun

Foster Care Award: Mike Coriasco

Habitat Hero: Tim Gwynn

New Best Friend: Julie Grasher

OHSTAR, Technical Animal Rescue Award: Rick Bunch

Outta This World: Bobbi Waggoner

Outta This World (In Memoriam): Jennifer Li

Pick of the Litter: Beverly Scott

Second Chance Program: Ellen Carder

Surgical Sweet: Sandy Hudspeth

Top Dog: Jenniffer Anderson

Training & Behavior: Dorma Mammano


Interested in volunteering with OHS? Learn about our opportunities.