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Thanksgiving will be here soon, and once again, it is time to pause and reflect on the blessings that have been bestowed upon us.

It has been a difficult year for many folks who have endured hurricanes, escaped wildfires, lived through gun shootings and fought for medical coverage for loved ones. Those of us associated with the Beatrice Humane Society have not faced those problems, but every day is a challenge of sorts when dealing with lost and homeless animals.

Rather than dwell on any problems, let’s think about the positives. For the most part, that would be the people who tend to a multitude of jobs to keep the shelter’s doors open.

Volunteer VIPs

This Thanksgiving we are grateful for people like Gail Russell. Gail is a volunteer in the shelter office where she shares her extensive computer knowledge to accomplish a variety of tasks relating to shelter animals, volunteers, staff and adoptions.

Gail donates hours of her time every week to help keep the business of record-keeping and data entry accurate and up-to-date. Her commitment to the cause benefits all the animals at the shelter.

We are thankful for long-time volunteers Lori Kunc and Tammy Grimme. Although both ladies have full-time jobs and other commitments, they find the time to volunteer every week to care for the shelter dogs.

This past weekend, they volunteered to run the shelter office so that the scheduled staff member could take shelter animals to the PetSmart Adoption Fair. Plus, they coordinate the kitchen duties for the annual “Paws-itively Desserts” fundraiser. They are rock-solid and good as gold.

And we are so grateful for volunteer Brad Beam. Last year Brad moved from Austin, Texas, to Lincoln. After careful research and fact-finding, Brad chose the Beatrice Animal Shelter to work with, in part, because of our very low euthanasia rate.

His knowledge of animals, shelter-networking, adoptions and volunteer programs has been an invaluable resource for the Beatrice Humane Society’s Board of Directors. He makes the trip down to Beatrice two or three times a week to do whatever it is that needs to be done – clean kennels, walk dogs, fold laundry, sweep floors and serve as an educational resource.

Fearless leader

And speaking of the board, where would we be without John Rypma? John has served as board president for multiple terms and led the charge to make the Beatrice Animal Shelter the best in the region.

He spends countless hours working for the good of the paws, which includes everything from leading the capital campaign that raised the funds to build the new shelter to mowing the extensive shelter grounds to representing the organization at regular meetings with the City fathers.

He is always working for the best possible outcome for the lost and homeless animals that are served by the Beatrice Humane Society. No task is too large or small for him to tackle, whether it’s the animals or the people who care for them. Thank you, John.

We are so thankful for Kathy Keylon, employee-extraordinaire who puts her heart and soul into the job that is more than a job to her. She has been the glue holding things together while we are operating without a shelter manager.

Kathy is putting in long hours and juggling lots of tasks while she works tirelessly to keep things running smoothly. Working with Kathy and going the extra mile is Vicki Grabowski, a long-time employee who specializes in cat care. Vicki is caring and compassionate and committed to the work she does.

Other shelter team members for whom we are grateful include Nate Weyers, Sierra Saathoff, and Nichole Borzekofski. And although she is not a paid employee, Kristi Thober-Rohr is definitely a full-time volunteer. Kristi is at the shelter five days a week sharing her time and expertise and is invaluable to the work we do.

There is, of course, no way we can acknowledge everyone who plays a role in helping this organization. Whether it’s donating shelter supplies, dropping off towels and blankets, donating memorials to honor loved ones, transporting animals, folding laundry, adopting an animal, scheduling a program for a group or organization, helping with a fundraiser or speaking positively about our work to friends and neighbors, we thank you.

Schedules get crazy, the days pass quickly, everyone is busy. Consequently, we don’t tell our supporters thank you often enough. At this season of thanks and gratitude, please accept our sincere thanks and appreciation for helping the Beatrice Humane Society to be a positive force in this community and the surrounding area. We couldn’t do it without you.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and all your furry friends!

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Bette Anne Thaut is a board member of the Beatrice Humane Society.

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