Meet United Way’s 2016 Volunteer of the Year Recipient, Bobbie Alexander !
Bobbie Alexander is always ready to help any organization in whatever way she can. At the Humane Society of Whitley County, she has worked every volunteer position inside the animal shelter including: cleaning cat cages, sweeping floors, volunteering during the annual Neuter for a Nickel clinic, washing down walls, assisting with several fundraisers each year, socialization of animals to prepare them for adoption, walking dogs, assisting potential adopters by helping to introduce them to adoptable animals and filling out paperwork. scooping cat litter, and washing and folding laundry.
Most recently Bobbie has taken on even more roles as a volunteer! The volunteer who transported animals to Fort Wayne has stepped down, which left a big role to fill. Bobbie quickly stepped in to help and she now drives the shelter van to Fort Wayne to have animals spayed and neutered. She also transports animals to our charity partner, PetSmart and other adoptions events.
At the same time, the Shelter’s volunteer director took a leave of absence for medical reasons. Seeing a need, Bobbie readily stepped in to welcome and train new volunteers! She didn’t need to be asked, she saw a need and she filled it – and is doing a great job!
Bobbie’s volunteer work doesn’t stop at the Shelter. She often helps at community outreach events by distributing materials about animal population control and our shelter. The past two years she also coordinated 2 fundraising events at a local restaurant. In addition, Bobbie drives the shelter van in several local parades each summer. She also volunteers for several special events and recruits friends and family members to help as well.
This year she is also part of a trio of volunteers who are coordinating the Shelter’s largest fundraiser – the 18th Annual Auction to be held in November. This means contacting businesses to ask for donations, arranging for donated items to be picked up, planning various aspects of the event and generating community interest.
But that isn’t all! Bobbie also volunteers for Whitley County’s Relay for Life (part of the regional American Cancer Society). She works as a volunteer in the information booth and helps with various fundraisers.
Yes, she has a pretty full plate, but there is more! Bobbie and her mother also run a bowling league for Special Olympics here in Whitley County. Clients and their families participate in the 8-week summer league. It has been such a popular activity for clients that they will be expanding and adding a fall/winter league!
Wherever Bobbie is volunteering, at the Humane Society of Whitley County, Relay for Life or Special Olympics, she is enriching the lives of people and animals in our community.
At the shelter, she is readily available and eager to help for any activity or ‘job’ that needs to be done. Bobbie does the work that many people don’t want to do – after all, scooping cat litter, washing dishes, sweeping, and folding laundry isn’t glamourous. She takes ownership and pride in all that she does. Though these tasks may seem small to many, her volunteer duties make a huge impact in our community. By helping with daily tasks, staff members are able to focus on animal education efforts in the community, the many medical needs of the animals in the shelter’s care, and work with local law enforcement on animal abuse and neglect cases. When animals are cared for and socialized at the shelter, they are then ready for adoption. When adopted, these animals enrich the lives of many Whitley County residents.
For those involved in Special Olympics, she provides a safe, welcoming and encouraging activity for those with intellectual disabilities, their friends and family. Those with disabilities are able to participate in an atmosphere where they feel accepted and respected in our community.
Funds raised for the Relay for Life provide much-needed funding to help in finding a cure for cancer, which afflicts many of our community members. The event also serves as a way to honor family members with cancer and remember those in our community who have passed from the disease.
Bobbie has been volunteering for Special Olympics for 5 years (and before that she volunteered sporadically for many years).
Her volunteer work for the Whitley County Relay for Life began approximately 4 years ago.
She has volunteered at the Humane Society of Whitley County more than 3 years.
You wouldn’t know it to look at her, but Bobbie is disabled. She is young, always has a bright smile and cheery disposition. Even when in extreme pain, Bobbie will push on to help those in need. Between the three (3) non-profits where she volunteers, we estimate that Bobbie volunteers 20 hours a week! Or more! Many able-bodied people never volunteer!
Bobbie is very humble about her volunteer work. She doesn’t tell anyone unless asked and then she humbly responds, “I don’t do nearly as much as I should. I wish I was well enough to do more”. Why does she volunteer so much? Not because it fills her days, but because she sees a need, because she believes in helping others, because she knows it strengthens our community, because she wants to be a vital part of her community, because she knows it can change lives.
Bobbie comes from a family that has a heart and soul for helping others and community service. She has picked up the torch and has passed that volunteer spirit to her nieces and nephews. When she is volunteering at the shelter, there is usually a young family member with her. She has taught them to do whatever is needed – laundry, scoop cat litter and cleaning dog cages – for the children, they are learning that helping is what you do, it is part of life, it is good for the community, and you do anything that is needed. They also help alongside Bobbie with many special events. She teaches them the importance of taking care of others and the community where they live. This is one of the greatest things that Bobbie does – she is helping to raise a generation that is committed to community service. She is a wonderful example of uniting family and friends for a good cause, serving others and creating a better place to live through community service.
Our community is certainly richer and stronger for all that Bobbie does to help humans and animals alike.