Top Volunteers for 2022 Honored

OHS Portland Campus volunteers recognized for their compassion, and kindness.

Exceptional volunteers who go above and beyond were honored by the Oregon Humane Society including Kem Sypher, recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award. Kem has been a dedicated volunteer for 23 years and is particularly skilled at working with small animals and helping with humane education.

In 2022, more than 3,000 volunteers gave their time, talents, and love to the pets at OHS. These compassionate individuals gave more than 196,000 hours which is the equivalent of 94 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.

“Volunteers are the heart and soul of OHS and play a critical role in our mission,” says Sharon Harmon, OHS President and CEO.

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 10 categories. Harmon presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to Kem Sypher of NE Portland and the Volunteer of the Year Award to Leslie Grove of NE Portland.

Volunteers from OHS’ Salem Campus will be honored during an event in June.

Lifetime Achievement Award – Kem Sypher

Kem, pictured above, left, with Sharon Harmon, began volunteering over 23 years ago in 2000 and has donated over 2,000 hours to OHS since he started. He began volunteering with small animals and helping with special events.

Over the year, he has led small animal orientation training for adults and youth volunteers. Kem’s dedication to teaching kindness and compassion to young people moved him to help at OHS summer camp. His gentle and calm teaching style meets youth where they are on their journey to learning what it takes to care for animals, both wild and domesticated.

Volunteer of the Year – Leslie Grove

Leslie, pictured above, right, with Sharon Harmon, has been a volunteer at OHS since 2014 and give more than 1,200 hours of her time mentoring new volunteers, caring for shelter cats, and helping with laundry and dishwashing.

Full list of honorees:

Cat’s Meow:  Sophia Jeng

Foster Care Award: Kirsten Pontarelli 

New Best Friend: Lisa Baldasar

Pick of the Litter: Brooke Green

Second Chance Program: Mark Johns

Surgical Sweet: Dr. Connie De Haan

Top Dog: John Franko 

Training & Behavior: Carolyn Brock