By Ashley Jayne
Ingham County Chronicle
The Kellogg Center was alive with excitement on March 26 as Ingham County Animal Shelter volunteers, employees and pet-owners gathered for the annual Humanitarian Awards Banquet. The event is designed to celebrate the work of shelter volunteers as well as raise money for the Animal Care Fund. At the 2015 banquet there were silent and live auctions, a photo booth and appearances by two recently adopted shelter dogs.
According to shelter volunteer coordinator Ashley Hayes, 220 people attended this year’s event, an increase from the 160 who attended in 2014. In addition, more than $11,000 was raised for the Animal Care Fund between ticket sales, donations and auction proceeds.
However, the success of the night was measured by more than the number of people and money made.
“The coolest part is getting to see people when they’re not in their scrubs or their jeans and their T-shirts,” said Hayes. “You almost don’t recognize everybody.”
Shelter volunteer and 2015 Outstanding Foster Award recipient Roxann Wilkinson said the chance to visit with her friends and fellow volunteers away from the shelter is the best part of the evening.
Wilkinson has been fostering dogs from the animal shelter for almost six years. She also said she has fostered about 80 dogs, and that her favorite part is seeing the healing in the dogs she cares for.
“It’s nice to see them come out of their shell and become a completely different dog,” said Wilkinson. “All of the volunteers really bond over the sad cases.”
For teen volunteer Dory Gaughran, the 2015 Humanitarian Awards Banquet was her first. Gaughran said she enjoyed spending time with people she has bonded with at the shelter, and celebrating the work she has done in the past year.
“It’s really good to know that you’re doing something for these animals,” said Gaughran.