Humane Society president named Chamber Citizen of the Year Friday
By: Darrell Todd Maurina
Kim Fuhr, president of the Pulaski County Humane Society, received the Citizen of the Year award Friday night from the Waynesville-St, Robert Chamber of Commerce
PULASKI COUNTY, Mo. (Feb. 19, 2010) — A long-time volunteer helping hurting animals was named Friday evening as the citizen of the year for the Waynesville-St. Robert Chamber of Commerce.
Kim Fuhr, the current president of the Pulaski County Humane Society, has been a member of the organization’s board for three terms and has lived in Pulaski County since 1991. Employed by the Waynesville R-VI School District to work with autistic children, her other volunteer activities include Grace Covenant Church and the Heaven’s View home, where she teaches horse riding to girls.
Other nominees were Officer Dan Wogan, who recently retired from the St. Robert Police Department, and Kim Hawk, the volunteer coordinator for the Waynesville R-VI School District. The Chamber also named the Pulaski County Tourism Bureau as the “Organization of the Year” and named Sherrie Norris as “Volunteer of the Year.”
New awards presented this year included R.J. Dick as the Chamber of Commerce Ambassador of the Year and Janel Rowell as 2009 Ambassador Emeritus of the Year.
In Fuhr’s nomination packet, the Pulaski County Humane Society wrote that she “rescued and fostered many homeless animals over the years (dogs, cats, rabbits, goats, pigs, horses, etc).”
Specific projects to implement her “deep love for all animals and her belief that they have a right to be treated humanely and with compassion” include trying to help Pulaski County obtain an animal shelter for animals located outside the city limits.
“She’s a strong proponent of having pets spayed and neutered (three to four million shelter animals are euthanized each year simply because there aren’t enough homes),” according to the application packet. “She spearheaded the drive to make it more difficult for breeder’s selling their puppies along the St Robert roadsides … another huge source of homeless and unwanted animals in shelters.”
She also worked to help the Pulaski County Humane Society obtain the federal 501(c)3 tax-exempt status that the IRS requires for organizations to accept tax-exempt charitable contributions.
“I know that took a long time and we are all glad you were able to obtain that,” said Mike Dunbar, chairman of the Waynesville-St. Robert Chamber of Commerce, during the award banquet.
Dunbar said the challenge of having a large Army installation in a relatively small rural community such as Pulaski County presents challenges.
“We’re here to celebrate. Everybody in this room volunteers in some capacity,” Dunbar said. “Without the volunteers in a small community like this one with a big time population in Fort Leonard Wood, we would never get it done; it would be impossible.”
Fort Leonard Wood’s chief of staff, Col. Robert A. Tipton, said he appreciates the support the Army receives from the civilian community.
“Tonight’s theme is, of course, all about volunteerism. How appropriate for the Army to come in because for years the Army didn’t pay our soldiers a whole lot of money; there wasn’t a whole lot of funding out there to take care of families and that sort of thing,” Tipton said. “It was the volunteers, people who volunteered to serve those who volunteered to serve our country, which really sustained the Army for a number of years. It’s really only recently that we’ve seen the Army recognize taking care of families and taking care of soldiers.”
Tipton noted that a number of people in the room had served in the Army as privates and had received help from volunteer organizations.
“We really put our hearts out to those out there who are volunteers,” Tipton said.
Most active-duty soldiers spend only a few years at Fort Leonard Wood; Tipton has spent four so far at the installation.
“I’m going on 27 years of service and we have never been at a single place that is so phenomenally supportive,” Tipton said. “This place is unbelievable. The community spirit and the volunteerism to support Fort Leonard Wood and the soldiers, it simply blows you away.”
Waynesville Councilwoman Luge Hardman, a former Waynesville High School teacher whose students included many military children concurred.
“I taught probably over 3,000 students, and you think about the fact that I also met most of their parents,” Hardman said. “The military has been wonderful to this community.”
St. Robert Alderman Todd Williams, who moved to the Fort Leonard Wood area in 1995, retired from the Air Force in 2000, and who now works as a civilian employee on Fort Leonard Wood, said he’s glad the community has become a place fellow military retirees want to live.
“We were very, very happy here, we have no desire to move, and it’s people like everybody out here which is why we stayed here and made St. Robert our home,” Williams said. “It’s a great place to live and a great place to raise a family.”