We are thrilled to announce the winners of our new Volunteer Awards Program which celebrates and acknowledges the amazing work of our more than 450 volunteers. Congratulations to Jenifer Boyce, Alex Washkurak, the Scott family and Dr. Frances Walker as this year’s award recipients. Together, thanks to their passion, dedication and talents they gave voice to those who cannot speak for themselves.
Awards were presented in the following categories: Outstanding Volunteer Service, Outstanding Youth Volunteer Achievement, the Foster Family of the Year and the Lifetime Achievement Award. Thank you to our Community Engagement Committee (Paul Dillon, Charles Thornton and Jackie Mackenzie) who had the difficult job of selecting this year’s recipients. Due to COVId-19 this year’s awards were announced virtually during our November Board meeting. However plans are already underway to add more award categories next year and to present the awards at a formal ceremony, once it is safe to gather in groups again.
Outstanding Volunteer Service Award – Jenifer Boyce
The Outstanding Volunteer Service Award is presented to a volunteer who has made a significant contribution to improving the quality of life for animals, and when speaking about our award recipient, Jenifer Boyce, this is an understatement!
Jen began volunteering with the Oakville & Milton Humane Society in 2018, as a front desk representative. Her outgoing and friendly attitude were a perfect fit for the role. She was quick to learn the ins and outs of the front desk position and eager to take on more.
Jen began using her talent as a professional photographer to take photos of adoptable animals to help them find their forever homes and telling stories through her photos to shed light on the animals in need of urgent care through shelter appeals.
Jen didn’t stop there! She worked with our dog trainer to learn how to provide enrichment and training opportunities for the dogs through positive reinforcement and has been coming to the shelter consistently each week to work with the dogs, providing exercise, affection and specialized care to even our most challenging dogs.
In addition, Jen frequently volunteers to attend community and fundraising events as a representative of the OMHS. She has signed up to work on special projects from home, and has assisted the shelter staff on numerous occasions as an on-call volunteer cat socializer, animal matchmaker and greeter. Jen has even joined the foster team to provide nurturing care and love to animals in her home.
Jenifer, congratulations on being nominated and selected as our Outstanding Volunteer of 2020. Your demonstration of compassion, leadership and your optimistic view are only a few of the qualities that make you so deserving of this recognition. Thank you for everything you have done and continue to do – You are a true animal advocate!
Outstanding Youth Volunteer Achievement Award – Alex Washkurak
The Outstanding Youth Volunteer Achievement Award is presented to a youth volunteer who has made a significant contribution to improving the quality of life for animals, and this year’s recipient, Alex Washkurak, has done just this since her start with the Oakville & Milton Humane Society in 2017.
Alex’s involvement with the shelter began in the Animal Care Department, through a specialized Cooperative Education placement, whereby she worked directly with the staff and learned the job responsibilities. From cleaning animal enclosures and providing food and fresh water, to creating daily socialization opportunities for a variety of small animals, Alex’s love for all animals was evident.
As a volunteer, Alex is extremely reliable. She traveled to and from the shelter by bus five days a week to spend time with the animals and decided to continue volunteering with the OMHS after successfully completing her co-op placement.
Alex now volunteers regularly as a Cat Socializer and Small Animal Socializer, and provides the highest level of care to the animals she works with, which in turn, helps to prepare them for their lives in a forever home. Alex has overcome any challenges she has faced, and always arrives at the shelter with a positive attitude and huge smile.
In addition to her involvement with the humane society, Alex also actively advocates for animal welfare through social media and makes regular visits to a local farm sanctuary to support even more animals in the community.
Alex, we are so proud of your accomplishments and inspired by your dedication. Congratulations on your nomination and for being selected as our Outstanding Youth Volunteer of 2020.
Foster Family of the Year – The Scott Family
The Foster Family of the Year Award is presented to a family that has demonstrated exceptional accomplishments in fostering animals. The Scott Family – Lynne-Marie, Anna, Jess and David – have collectively fostered more than 200 shelter animals, more than any family in the history of the Oakville & Milton Humane Society, and have been devoted volunteers since 2008.
Compassion is the word that comes to mind when we think of foster families, and there is no shortage of compassion when it comes to the Scott family. The majority of the animals that have been fostered at the Scott residence have been neonatal kittens, who require bottle-feeding every two to three hours around the clock and rely on the care provided by the members of the Scott family for their very survival.
Lynne-Marie, Anna, Jess and David have rearranged their lives to be able to provide this exceptional level of support to the OMHS, including the transport of pets to and from the shelter, the treatment of sick animals, opting for “stay-cations”, sleepless nights keeping vulnerable kittens warm and so much more.
In addition to their contribution of fostering, the Scott family has become a trusted partner and connected with the community through a number of initiatives. Lynne-Marie and Jess have represented the humane society at the “Kitten Shower”, the Wedding Show and numerous microchip clinics. They have sold lottery tickets, distributed calendars, and signed up to attend other special events.
At the young age of 13, Jess organized a stuffed animal drive and collected more than 600 soft toys to provide comfort to animals in need during their stay at the shelter, and she continues to support the animals by utilizing her photography skills to capture precious moments of the kittens during their stay at the family’s home, which attracts potential adopters.
Lynne-Marie, Jess, Anna and David, congratulations on your nomination and for being selected as the Foster Family of the Year. Your contributions have had a monumental impact on the organization. An animal in need could ask for no better care than that provided by your family.
Lifetime Achievement Award – Dr. Frances Walker
The Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to a volunteer who has gone above and beyond in demonstrating compassion for animals and has also demonstrated exceptional service and leadership qualities.
This year’s Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, Dr. Frances Walker, has been an instrumental member of the volunteer team and the OMHS family ever since she began her involvement with the humane society. In her professional career as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Walker is committed to continued education, specifically Shelter Medicine, and uses her expertise to provide the utmost care for the animals at the shelter and guidance to our medical staff of Registered Veterinary Technicians.
For over 30 years, Dr. Walker has been the shelter’s Veterinarian and has made weekly visits to the shelter to provide examinations, administer vaccinations and treat injured and sick animals. She has also opened her home to provide care to numerous foster animals over the years, primarily cats and kittens. Dr. Walker believes in the strength and healing abilities of animals and in happy endings for even the most vulnerable of animals, including those with behavioural challenges or chronic illness.
In addition to her lifesaving gifts of medical care and foster support, Dr. Walker volunteered on our Board of Directors, The Charlie Fund Committee and the Animal Welfare Committee. She has been involved with removals, including one with more than 100 cats and one with 30 chihuahuas. Furthermore, she has sponsored and volunteered at numerous microchip clinics.
Dr. Walker, congratulations on your nomination and for being selected as the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award. The shelter would not be what it is today without your ongoing support and guidance. Thank you for advocating on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves.