The 2018 Board Members of the Humane Society of the Ouachitas were elected at the January 18 meeting held at the Limetree Restaurant in Mena. Five of the eight elected ran unopposed serving in officer positions and have one to twelve years of service on the board offering experience and wisdom with their leadership. Three of the eight elected, Jane Crowder, Carolynne Sizemore, and Deni Westphal, as dedicated volunteers, are new to the Board this year, bringing new insight and energy.
Tina Ball, serving her 12th year as volunteer Shelter Manager, is currently the Board Member with the most years served, followed by volunteer Secretary Cheryl Murphy beginning her 11th year. Outgoing President Michael Povey, having volunteered for HSO in a variety of positions over the last 9 years, to include Board Member at Large and Cruelty-Neglect Officer, as well as HSO’s Radio-thon organizer and host sponsored by KENA Mena radio, praised Tina for her dedication. He credited Tina for having the vision, gumption, and the most impact on boosting HSO towards a positive future with regards to applying for and receiving grant funding for special projects and programs including spay-neuter for low income pet owners, the canine transport program, new construction and renovation of the existing shelter building and grounds, upgrading the office operations technology, raising shelter operations standards, raising community awareness, and seeing a steady increase of a record number of animals served, especially in the past year. Up by 157 animals served since 2016, the total number of pets in need served by HSO in 2017 was 761.
As Shelter Manager, Tina is a hands-on person, often volunteering as much as 40 or more hours per week. She hires, trains and manages the shelter employees, fills in shifts from employee absences, has written operations policies and created needed forms, responded to emergency calls for animals in need, conducted weekend adoption events, rolled up her sleeves to clean kennels, fed and walked the dogs, and played with the cats.
Incoming President Neal Fosdick rolled up his volunteer sleeves as well, spending the past year taking the lead position in ordering, setting, and remodeling the new “Cat Habitat” building, installing new fencing to create the new kennel areas and a variety of other hands-on chores, including making basic repairs and maintenance needed on the old shelter building.
“Every volunteer’s help is deeply appreciated. HSO is only as good as its volunteers. Such dedication of its volunteers is exactly what has brought HSO to this wonderful place of existence,” stated Murphy. “HSO will be celebrating its 40th anniversary this June. What HSO is today is a tribute not only to the organizers and volunteers of yesterday and today, but also to those who regularly and generously donate to the cause. The good people of Polk County and their friends who continue to give, keep the well from running dry. Grant monies have funded the growth, but the steady donations from generous caring individuals and businesses are the heartbeat of the organization. HSO would not be alive today without the people who keep giving to pay basic bills. HSO is truly an icon in our community. HSO’s service to the animals is also a service to the people of Polk County. The new Board is excited to see what the new year will bring, and HSO is looking amazing as it begins its 4th decade of service.”