The Fort McMurray SPCA held its Annual General Meeting on Thursday, May 25, 2016 and marked the occasion with its first recognition awards. The FMSPCA Awards Program honours both people and animals who have made outstanding contributions to animal welfare during the past year in our community.
Volunteer of the Year Award – Jean-Pierre De Villiers
Volunteers are the heart and soul of our organization and their contributions greatly enhance our ability to provide leadership and support to the cause of animal welfare. From cleaning kennels to serving on committees; from raising funds to organizing community events, they perform a wide range of essential services. This award recognizes the invaluable contribution of one such person in our community.
J.P is one of the organizations longest active volunteers, adopter and foster parent. In January of 2009, inspired by a news story about homeless animals J.P decided to get involved with the FMSPCA. J.P volunteers in our cat room every Saturday morning. Not only does he groom and socialize resident shelter felines, he also lends his experience and knowledge to those who need a little extra TLC while adjusting the shelter environment.
Volunteer Service Award – Doug Brown and Elaine Galliott
Given to outstanding volunteers for their tireless devotion to the FMSPCA continued success, programs, services and initiatives.
In 2016 Doug volunteered and took on the enormous responsibility of maintaining our shelter outdoor compound space. Doug regularly mows our dog park maintains and repairs our equipment and keeps our aging dog kennels operational by providing needed repairs and supplies. In addition Doug volunteers at many FMSPCA fundraising events, advocates for sponsorship and champions the organizations mission and vision. Doug is always there for us in a pinch lending a hand when it is most needed.
When describing Elaine, words like kindness, generosity and a gentle-heart come to mind. Elaine is not only an active member of the FMSPCA event committee, taking on a leadership role in many of this committees endeavours. Elaine has also been instrumental in ensuring our recycling program is a success by garnering support from Suncor Energy as a corporate recycling partner. Funds raised from these recyclable beverage containers support our organizations veterinary clinic. Elaine is also a foster parent who is always on call to take into her home and heart young feline mothers and their babies. Elaine fundraises, advocates and promotes the organizations many events and programs, is a regular baker for national cupcake day, a kennel sponsor, Cat Yoga participant and general shelter volunteer.
Volunteer Foster Award – Rick Perron
Proudly presented to an outstanding foster volunteer for their help providing animals with care , love and a home environment.
In 2016 Rick became a foster parent to a bonded pair of special needs felines. Rick not only provides a loving home to Barry and Mara who at 10 &11 years old, also require daily special care. Barry has diabetes and requires insulin injections 2 times a day as well as a special diet. Thanks to Rick’s efforts Barry and Mara have been able to remain together and are enjoying retirement thanks to the comforts of a home environment.
Community Spirit Award – Kim Matchem
This award is given to an individual for demonstrating tireless devotion to the FMSPCA organization, animals in our care, programs, services and initiatives through their business, group or organization and for contributing above and beyond to achieve the goals of the FMSPCA.
Kim Matchem has been an avid supporter and active volunteer with the FMSPCA since adopting her beloved Rolo in June 2011. Kim, an animal advocate and pet product blogger regularly visits the shelter and promotes all things FMSPCA showcasing adoptables in our care, events, fundraisers and our programs through regular features on her blog Confessions of a Rescue Mom. Kim has acted as a director on the Board, volunteers at many of our events and fundraisers year round by selling handmade pet themed items with proceeds going to the FMSPCA through kennel sponsorship. Kim has raised more than $10,000 dollars for the organization and given hundreds of hours of her time as a volunteer and supporter.
Community Partnership Award – Kory Walsh, Pet Valu Downtown Location
Given to an individual or business for outstanding partnership initiatives through their business or organization for the betterment of the programs and services through the FMSPCA.
Pet Valu Downtown location and owner operator Kory Walsh was instrumental in the FMSPCA receiving monetary support from Pet Valu Canada as a result of the 2016 Wildfires. $50,000 dollars was donated to support our efforts in the pet rescue, re-entry and re-building phases. Kory’s continued advocacy secured more than 27 pallets of pet food and supplies for the FMSPCA’s pet re-entry kit program. More than 4000 returning pets received these supplies upon re-entry. This would not have been possible without Pet Valu and Kory Walsh’s generosity. Pet Valu Downtown continues to support the FMSPCA through sponsorship, fundraising events and in-kind donations to our many initiatives.
Staff Excellence Award – Misha Gaertner
This award honors an FMSPCA staff person who has made exceptional contributions to the organization in the past year.
Misha Gaertner has been a member of the FMSPCA staff team since April 2015. As the Kennel Manager Misha was instrumental in the successful integration and operationalization of the organizations in-shelter veterinary clinic, SOP development, customer service improvements, volunteer engagement and satisfaction, and staff training opportunities. On May 1, 2016 Misha led the voluntary evacuation of the FMSPCA shelter successfully placing 30 animals in foster care throughout the city in a matter of hours. As the Operations Manager Misha has mentored new staff and kennel leadership, sourced and completed funding applications and developed meaningful partnerships with donors, stakeholders and sponsors. From all of the staff we celebrate you and your contributions to this organization.
Board Excellence Award – George Rowe
This award honors one board member who has made an exceptional contribution to the shelter or program activities of the Society.
2017 marks George Rowe’s 8th year as a board member and volunteer. Not only is George the president of the FMSPCA Board of Directors he is also an active committee member, donor, adopter, foster parent and advocate. George’s collaborative nature and through collective effort the FMSCPA has made great strides under his leadership including the development of organizations strategic plan and fund development foundations. In May 2016 George led the FMSPCA team in the pet rescue operation led by the RMWB where 1200 pets were safely extracted, sheltered and transported to be re-unified with their owners. On May 3rd George not only evacuated with his own 4 fury family members but also with the 6 FMSPCA foster felines that had been placed in his care on the evening of May 1st when the Gregoire area was under a voluntary evacuation order.
Animal Hero Award – Winky Rides
Presented to an animal whose actions have benefited others in a significant way. Recipients of this award might range from an animal who regularly brings cheer and comfort to seniors in a care facility, fundraises for the FMSPCA with their human or an animal who has rescued others from a harmful situation.
Over the course of 10 years and almost 100,000 Kilometers Winky and his human, Sandy MacDonald created a movement of compassion through their cause for paws in support of the FMSPCA. Last year our friend Winky passed away unexpectedly. Winky touched the hearts of everyone he met. Even now Winky still serves as an example of the special place that our companion family members have in our lives. The Winky Rides team continues to honour his legacy and to date more than $50,000 dollars has been raised in support of the FMSCPA benefiting dozens of animals in our care.
Animal Courage Award – Tinsel
Many of the animals rescued by the FMSPCA have endured suffering. This award is presented in recognition of an animal rescued by the SPCA who has shown exceptional courage and resilience in the face of physical or emotional suffering.
Tinsel, now Kai, weighed only 8 lbs when he was taken into care in December 2016. Suffering from a multitude of medical conditions including pneumonia, severe emaciation and carpal laxity, his prognosis was grave. Despite the trauma, neglect and multiple illnesses this tiny puppy with his courage and a great will to live survived with the help of our in-shelter Veterinarian Dr. Carolyn Levitz our dedicated staff and amazing foster family who in March of this year officially adopted him. Tinsel leads a healthy, happy and active life with his four legged sisters, Tia and Sadie.
Congratulations to all of our 2016 award winners and thank you for your service and dedication to the Fort McMurray SPCA!
Thank you also to everyone who is volunteering on our Board!