Humaneitarian Awards 2015

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Capitol Subaru
Presenting Sponsor

Join Willamette Humane Society in honoring our 2015 Humaneitarian Award nominees and recipients.  The Awards Ceremony was presented by Capitol Subaru, and sponsored by Salem Electric and Roth’s Fresh Markets.

Humaneitarian Award- Idi Vargas

Humaneitarian Award 2015 016 good Idi Vargas smallReuniting lost pets with their humans is Idi’s mission. As the manager of the incredibly effective Facebook page, “Lost and Found Pets in Salem, OR,” Idi is right on track.
Spending as many as 30 hours a week on animal rescue, Idi scours Craigslist ads for pets who need a home, provides guidance to those with lost animals, and hits the pavement to trap scared dogs on the loose.
Her encouragement means the world to people with lost pets. People like Jennifer Tucker who nominated her. “Freda is still missing but now I know that because of Idi she will be found someday. When I feel like I am losing hope, Idi senses it and messages me with stories of fur babies missing for months and even years that have been reunited with their pet parents and it renews my hope. “

Golden Paw Award- Dr. Jacque Harter

Dr Jacque Harter Golden PawA dedicated veterinarian, Dr. Harter has provided extraordinary care to tens of thousands dogs and cats at Willamette Humane Society, Heartland Humane Society, Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon, and Marion County Dog Control.
Responsible for exam and health protocols at WHS, Dr. Harter educates the staff on the health of all pets. Dr. Brooks, who nominated her said, “it is a boon to see a ‘Dr. H exam’ as part of a rescue dog’s history. I know I have good information.”
Dr. Harter was instrumental in promoting and establishing  the WHS Spay / Neuter Clinic which has performed over 24,000 sterilization surgeries.

Young Paw Award- Nina Kraft

Nina Kraft Young PawIn four years, Nina has compiled quite a list of volunteer duties: Animal Care Assistant, CCTV, Dog Team, Education Assistant, Foster Care, Groomer, Outreach, Training Assistant, Jr. Trainer Camp Counselor, Camp Paw Paw Counselor, and Humane-a-Teens team leader.
As a founding member of the Humane-a-Teens group, Nina helped shape the vision of the group. She welcomes new members and shows them how to safely interact with shelter dogs.
Her favorite part about volunteering is “being able to teach younger children and even adults how to take care of and train their pets.“

Volunteer of the Year Award- Lee Nichols

Lee Nichols Volunteer of the YearFoster parent, animal transporter, playgroup facilitator, dog behavior class teacher, tour guide, animal care assistant. There aren’t many things at Willamette Humane Society Lee hasn’t done.
Most recently he developed a model for the behavior and training department so our transition to a new trainer was smooth. This included teaching classes so the public wasn’t without a resource.
Ask Lee about any dog in the shelter. He will likely tell you all about the dog, who her best buddies are in playgroup, what kind of family she’d succeed with and what amount of training the dog has had,” Catherine, one of his nominators, said.


  • The Humaneitarian Award recognizes a person who exemplifies Willamette Humane Society’s mission of providing compassionate services to pets and people in a volunteer capacity.  The recipient will receive a hand-cast bronze sculpture by artist Calvin Stinger.
  • The Golden Paw Award recognizes significant work or deeds for animals, performed as a paid professional.
  • The Young Paw Award recognizes a young adult’s actions to help animals, considered for nominees under 18.
  • The Volunteer of the Year Award honors a current WHS volunteer for their exemplary service.

Humaneitarian Award 2015 slider


  • Al Bessol, WHS volunteer and feral cat trapper.
  • Kathi Buchta, Meow Village volunteer and foster mom.
  • Harmony Crosby, WHS volunteer and dog walker.
  • Tom Halsey, WHS volunteer, dog walker, former board member, animal transporter, Project Fence leader and fundraiser.
  • Dr. Jacque Harter, WHS Shelter Veterinarian
  • Corinne Hashenberger, WHS Volunteer, foster parent, and pet recovery specialist.
  • Karen Hilfiker, Marion County Dog Control Officer and Veterinary Technician
  • Nina Kraft, WHS volunteer and Humane-a-Teen
  • Alina Miller, WHS volunteer and dog walker
  • Lee Nichols, WHS volunteer and Behavior & Training Teacher
  • Idi Vargas, Founder and Administrator of Lost & Found Pets of Salem
  • Diane Young, Salem Dogs Rescue Founder

Past award recipients include:

  • 2014: Denise Smith, Animal Advocate
  • 2013: Dr. Sheri Morris, Dr. Mark Stoenner & Juan Lopez of Willamette Valley Animal Hospital
  • 2012: Michelle Blake of Fences for Fido
  • 2011: Martha Russell, Adopt-An-Oregon-Dog Blogger
  • 2010: Marsha Chambers of Hope’s Haven
  • 2009: Dr. Arlene Brooks of the Last Chance Club
  • 2008: Betty Emerson of the Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon
  • 2007: Monte & Barb Turner, WHS volunteers

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2015 Event Photos

Wednesday, April 15
Pringle Creek Hall

Photos from Past Humaneitarian Award Ceremonies

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