Humane Society of the Ouachitas celebrated another year honoring it volunteers on April 16, which marked National Volunteer Week throughout the nation. After visiting over a potluck lunch, HSO Volunteer Shelter Manager Tina Ball praised and presented awards to HSO’s “foster pet parents” who temporarily open their homes particularly to puppies of all ages too young to reside in the shelter. Foster homes are one of HSO’s greatest needs, sometimes needed on the spur of the moment, just as their human counterparts, and are always appreciated. HSO continues to seek caring foster homes, and anyone interested should contact the shelter.
Volunteer HSO Secretary Cheryl Murphy, along with Tina jointly presented President Neal Fosdick with a framed certificate as “Volunteer of the Year 2017” for his efforts at coordinating and finishing the new Cat Habitat building on the shelter grounds on Polk 50. A personalized engraved hammer was presented to Fosdick in his honor as a token of appreciation. Although Fosdick was quick to say others volunteered to help, Murphy and Ball cited how Fosdick took on the project from the beginning knowing there would be months of work ahead. There were many days he worked alone on the structure, investing many of his own hours of hard labor to bring the building to completion. Cheryl continued the honors with 2 framed certificates dedicated to Michael and Stephanie Povey. In Stephanie’s absence, Past President Michael accept the honors for both he and his wife. Cheryl cited that Stephanie served first as a Board Member in 2008, then in 2009 was elected President of HSO and served through 2015. Michael was elected as President in 2016 and 2017. The Poveys were praised for their willingness to jump in and get the work done where needed. Cheryl itemized only a few of their many areas of service, such as animal training, cruelty and neglect investigation, foster pet parenting, fundraising, and assisting in the HSO office, when staff was absent. Finally, Cheryl honored Tina Ball, for her past 12 years of serving as Volunteer Shelter Manager. Tina’s business management skills have been what the shelter needed to boost its operating and management systems into a new level of professionalism to meet modern industry standards. Over the past 12 years, Tina reached out and established professional relationships with major corporate donors, which assisted HSO in receiving grant monies for special projects such as developing the pet transport program (helping pets find new homes in other communities outside Polk County), improvements for the shelter grounds (such as the addition of the new Cat Habitat building), and spay-neuter assistance for low income pet owners in the community. Although HSO does not receive funding for its daily operations and continues to rely on financial donations of support from local residents through fundraising efforts, Tina’s promotion of HSO’s public image and reputation through community outreach has been a real benefit to help local residents understand that HSO is a true public servant with regard to animal rescue, and worthy of support. HSO’s next major fundraiser is the Annual Radiothon on KENA 104.1, May 9, 9 am to noon.