Pulaski County Humane Society is proud to have 250 volunteers who logged over 30,000 hours last year. Many of these volunteers came from local schools and area colleges. All of them were invaluable to a non-profit organization that operates seven days a week with a staff of only three. The Society handed out several awards during its annual membership meeting held at Draper Mercantile in December.
When Jaelyn Szerokman, daughter of Drew & Laura Szerokman, saw the homeless shelter pets pictured at Walmart, she opted to have friends bring pet food and supplies in lieu of gifts to her birthday party. She worked five adoption events, and presented speeches to her Girl Scout troop and fifth grade class about the shelter and how other young people can make a difference volunteering. As reigning Million Dollar Baby National Young Model, Szerokman made her volunteer work at the animal shelter her platform. For her work, the humane society named Szerokman its 2012 Youth Volunteer of the Year.
The Fundraiser of the Year award went to Debbie Burton who organized two adoption events at the Fairlawn Walmart and won two $1,500 grants for the society, as well as additional funding in cash and product donations for a total of nearly $5,000.
No one cares more about cats than long-time volunteer, Brenda Charlton who comes to the shelter every day to feed the cat colony. Shelter animals and humans alike enjoy the beautiful garden she and her husband Bud founded. Charlton spends countless hours weeding, planting and sprucing up the garden. She purchases items and puts together goody bags full of dog and cat food and treats sent home to adopting parents. The Humane Society recognized Charlton as 2012 Cat Woman of the Year.
Missy Viars volunteered so many hours at the shelter, the humane society referred to her as a staff member. She worked eleven out of twelve adoption events–transporting and handling dogs and talking up the furry friends to potential parents. She worked every single fundraiser—the H.O.G.s and Hotrods Fur Hounds Poker Run, the Yard Sale and Antique Road Show, and Yappy Hour. She decorated the society’s Christmas float, which won second place in this year’s Pulaski Christmas Parade. She answered the phone, and helped dogs and cats recover during spay/neuter clinic. She cleaned the cat condo, temperament tested dogs, screened adoption and foster applications and conducted background checks. She helped get dogs on rescues. For the hundreds of hours she put in, the humane society named Missy Viars the 2012 Volunteer of the Year.
PCHS also elected its 2013 board of directors: Rita Anderson, Linda Correll, Marian DeHart, Pam Hall, Jennie Jones, Dr. Jared Morgan, Jill Niece, Cyndi Todd, and Missy Viars. The board will elect officers later this month.