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Our volunteer spotlights

Lotte Jehlik Volunteer of the Year: Ammar Vaseemuddin

The Lotte Jehlik Volunteer of the Year Award acknowledges a volunteer who enhances the League’s mission by making contributions above and beyond his or her regular volunteer responsibilities.

This year’s Volunteer of the Year is known for his amazing work ethic and compassion for all animals, including humans.

We’re thrilled to announce our 2020 Lotte Jehlik Volunteer of the Year Award winner, Ammar Vaseemuddin!

It’s hard to imagine our adoption lobby without Ammar’s friendly face. Ammar can be found at the Leslie A. Malone Center multiple days a week, taking adoption counsels, welcoming patrons, working on foster bios, cleaning visiting rooms, taking back donations and pretty much helping however possible – always with a smile! He volunteers in multiple departments and has directly contributed to finding loving homes for more than 120 animals—and that is just in 2020! He is approaching his three-year mark as a League volunteer, and he already has more than 1,150 service hours to his name, nearly 550 served this year alone! During a pandemic, no less. 

Ammar has a real talent for working with patrons, and he has been the driving force behind many longest-stay adoptions. Whenever he is thanked or praised by his teammates, Ammar humbly replies with “it’s no problem” or instead, he thanks you, even though he’s the one volunteering his time.

Ammar is simply a wonderful person and a wonderful volunteer who we are so very lucky to have. Congratulations, Ammar!


Dedicated Service Award: Kathy Vanegas

Our Dedicated Service Award honors a volunteer who has served a minimum of 10 years and who is a true ambassador for the League.

This year’s winner checks of these boxes and many, many more. Huge congratulations to our 2020 Dedicated Service Award winner, Kathy Vanegas!

As one employee describes, Kathy is an absolute powerhouse! Kathy works with our pups both as a dog walker and a Headstart volunteer, and she has served more than 2,300 hours in her 10-plus years with the League. Kathy shows up to every shift eager to build a connection with each dog she interacts with, doing whatever she can to put the dog right at ease. Her passion is so inspiring and contagious that you cannot help but smile while watching her work with the animals. Not only is Kathy a huge support to our dogs, but to her fellow volunteers! Her willingness to share her knowledge and make a volunteer feel welcomed and comfortable is just another way she goes above and beyond with her service.

Kathy truly embodies the spirit of the League, and we are so very fortunate to have her as a part of our team. Congratulations, Kathy, and thank you for more than 10 years of service!


Young Adult Volunteer of the Year: Annah Bender

Our Young Adult Volunteer of the Year Award recognizes a young volunteer who has demonstrated excellence. Our 2020 award recipient has done just that.

Please join me in congratulating Annah Bender as our 2020 Young Adult Volunteer of the Year winner!

Annah began her tenure at the Dumb Friends League back in 2014 as a Junior Volunteer Club member, and it was pretty apparent right off the bat that Annah was someone special. Not only is she passionate about helping the animals in our care, but she also reaches out and connects with youth as a part of the Humane Education department. She’s always willing to jump in and help out last minute and support the Humane Ed programs however she can. Annah has a great rapport with the kids, which is clearly fueled by her positive attitude and down-to-earth approach.

Annah somehow manages to be a constant support for our Humane Ed team in addition to juggling school, extra-curricular activities and a job! Annah is currently attending college out of state, and she still offers to come in during holidays and breaks. Yet another example of her willingness to step up and show her unwavering support for the League. Congratulations Annah, and thank you!

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