Hats Off to OHS Volunteers
The Oregon Humane Society yesterday honored its dedicated and compassionate volunteers for their work in 2013. OHS relies on nearly 2,000 volunteers to assist with every aspect of shelter operations, from walking dogs to finding homes for cats to hosting community events. More than two dozen of those volunteers received special recognition for their outstanding hard work, dedication and compassion for animals.
“Thanks to these volunteers, OHS found homes for 11,110 pets last year. We could not have done it without them,” said Sharon Harmon, OHS Executive Director.
During an awards ceremony held March 9 at the Red Lion on the River in Portland, OHS honored 30 volunteers in 29 categories. Harmon presented the Volunteer of the Year Award to Candace and Bill Bailey of NE Portland; the Lifetime Achievement Award to Carolyn Gressel of SE Portland; the Volunteer’s Choice Award to Sherry Adams of NE Portland; and the End Petlessness Award to Jill Hurtley of NE Portland.
Candace and Bill Bailey (NE Portland) co-winners of the Volunteer of the Year Award, began volunteering in June of 2012. Both have volunteered to lead the OHS dog path crew and community groups as well as volunteering to help with dog rescues and dog walking.
Carolyn Gressel (SE Portland), winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award, began volunteering for OHS in 1998. She has worked on the Behavior Help Line counseling pet owners and with special animals that she has fostered.
Sherry Adams (NE Portland) winner of the Volunteer’s Choice Award, was selected by a vote of her volunteer peers. She began volunteering in November of 2003. She teaches dog safety and handling classes, helps with the Animal Assisted Therapy program, trains new volunteers and helps with rescued dogs.
Jill Hurtley (NE Portland), winner of the End Petlessness Award, was honored for contributing the most overall hours to OHS in 2013: more than 1,200 hours. Hurtley is a cattery volunteer and has been instrumental in developing top notch training programs for cattery volunteers.
Other volunteer award winners were:
Animal Assisted Therapy: Liz Clark and her corgi Griffin (N Portland). Animal Assisted Therapy volunteers take certified animals to assisted living facilities and hospitals, offering emotional and physical benefits to patients.
Behavior and Training: Kristen Hall-Geisler (N Portland). This award honors a volunteer’s contribution to the reward-based Pet Pals training program for shelter dogs.
Best Friend’s Corner: Chris Needham (Vancouver). Best Friend’s Corner is OHS retail store in the shelter lobby and is staffed by volunteers and OHS employees.
Best in the West: Melissa Halbleib (SW Portland). This award honors the volunteer who has contributed to the success of the OHS Westside Adoption Center.
Cat’s Meow: Carol Lucas (N Portland). This award is for the volunteer who has given the most hours helping cats at the shelter
Customer Care: Cassandra Garrison (SE Portland). This award recognizes the volunteer who has contributed the most to the OHS Adoption Department.
Humane Education: Mitchell Rogers (NE Portland). Education volunteers impart lifelong values of kindness and compassion to the next generation through school visits, clubs and the OHS summer camp.
Faithful Companion: Lynn Flory (N Portland). This award recognizes a volunteer who has helped the animals of OHS year after year.
Foster Care: Maddie Pinnock (Beaverton). Foster care volunteers work at home. They take care of animals who aren’t ready for the shelter, and then turn these animals back over to the shelter when they are healthy enough to be adopted.
Kennel Buddies: Kasey Goltra (NE Portland). This is a program where volunteers help reduce the stress levels in the kennels by spending one-on-one time with dogs through the Pet Pals training program.
Legs of Steel and Heart of Gold: Willie Bogue (N Portland). The Running with Dogs program consists of a small but dedicated group of volunteers who take high energy dogs out into the community for extra exercise.
New Best Friend: Tim Hurtley (NE Portland). This award honors a volunteer who is new to the OHS team but has helped animals in a big way.
OHS Technical Animal Rescue Team (OHSTAR): Bruce Wyse (Clackamas). OHSTAR volunteers help rescue animals who are stranded and in need of humane assistance to survive. They climb trees, rappel down cliffs and search the wilderness.
Outta this World: Sharon Kent (NE Portland). Adoption outreach volunteers showcase OHS animals almost every week of the year at everything from shopping malls to Trailblazer games to OHS red carpet events.
Party Animal: Sherri Brown (Happy Valley). This award honors the volunteer who has gone above and beyond helping our Special Events department create and execute successful events for the public.
Pick of the Litter: Tyler Norby (Milwaukie). This new award is voted on by volunteers and honors the OHS employee who they think goes above and beyond in working with volunteers.
Second Chance Program: Terra Merget (NE Portland).The Second Chance program reaches out to shelters around the region, bringing in pets from other shelters that are faced with the problem of too many pets and too few adopters.
Shelter Support: John Cushing (NE Portland). There is a great deal of work done behind the scenes to help make OHS programs a success, and this award honors these “behind the scenes” volunteers.
Small and Mighty: Bob Price (NE Portland). Small animal volunteers care for the little guys: rabbits, mice, guinea pigs, birds and the occasional degu.
Spay & Save: Tyler Murrain (SW Portland). This important shelter program helps spay & neuter cats in the community by offering low-cost surgeries.
Surgical Sweet: Sandy Heusch (Tualatin). The OHS Holman Medical Center has become a huge asset to OHS, and volunteers contribute significantly to its success.
Top Dog: Susan Dinger (NE Portland). This award is for the dog walking volunteer who has put in the most hours in the kennels in the past year and who has made a positive impact on the dog walking program.
Trainer of the Year: Ed McClaran (NE Portland). Some of the most valuable volunteers are those who mentor new volunteers.
Presenting: the 2014 Volunteer Movie!
Feeling inspired? You can learn more about becoming an OHS volunteer here.