Congratulations to Ken Winfield, GRRA’s December Volunteer of the Month! Ken currently serves as the Retriever Taxi Coordinator, the GRRA Paws on the Path Hike for Vato Coordinator, as well as an Adoption Day escort. He is also coordinating GRRA’s involvement in the Johns Creek Founders Day Parade on December 2nd. Ken, and his wife, Nancy, have also fostered for GRRA. As one of our fellow volunteers said in his nomination about several of the jobs he does, "Ken does an amazing job coordinating the transports and organizing the hikes. Both are very important tasks and, of course, everyone loves the hikes!" Ken shares his GRRA experience:
It’s truly an honor to be chosen as the December VOM. What makes it really great is getting an award for just having a good time. The volunteers and goldens at GRRA are fantastic and have really made doing my jobs a pleasure.
Back in 2010, Nancy and I wanted to adopt a companion for our golden rescue, Jackson. On a suggestion from a dog park friend, we contacted GRRA. I was very impressed with GRRA and my Adoption Consultant. So, after we adopted Molly and I had some spare time, I filled out the volunteer form and was “all in”.
I started helping out as an Adoption Day Escort once a month, taking prospective adopters around, introducing them to our dogs and their fosters. It is a great job for learning about GRRA and goldens from our fosters. Most of them have years of experience and training. I also love meeting the new dogs and chatting with the fosters. We also joined the GRRA Paws on the Path hiking group. Nancy and I would take Jackson and Molly on the monthly hikes around the Atlanta metro area. It’s an absolute joy to be in the great outdoors in the company of other dog lovers and allow all of our dogs to socialize with each other while getting exercise. Six months later, GRRA Paws on the Path was looking for a new Hike Coordinator. We enjoyed the hikes so much that I volunteered to take the job. We started with 75 members and we now have 300 members and are still growing. We have about 10 different parks we like to hike including: Red Top Mountain, Big Creek Greenway, Cochran Shoals, and Lanier Point Park. Many of our hikes give the pups a chance to swim. It’s outstanding when 20 Goldens are all paddling around chasing balls, sticks and just having a great time. The only issue is, I can never tell which ones are mine!
Right now, I am coordinating the December 2nd Johns Creek Founders Day Parade. We will have about 20 of our goldens marching. To “wow” the crowds, Nancy just made 25 bandanas for the pups. Tough job but someone has to do it. (Thank you, Nancy! We know the GRRA goldens will look amazing!)
Some time ago, I also took over as Retriever Taxi Coordinator. We have an awesome team of volunteers who chauffer our dogs between vet offices, foster homes, etc. I will receive a call from the Rescue Operations team on the dogs that need rides. I then coordinate with our taxi volunteers according to their geographic location and availability. While waiting to be adopted, our goldens are going through tough times so we make sure their taxi moves are totally seamless and smooth. We want the least possible amount of stress on our dogs. Everything has to be timed perfectly. Being a Retriever Taxi Volunteer is a really great job because you get to help a new GRRA dog directly. Many times you’re the first person to start that golden on the first day of the rest of his wonderful life. Could it get any better than that? I don’t think so as you just saved that dog.
We also foster and, over the years, we have adopted 6 dogs from GRRA: Molly, Annie (Buttercup), Max and the 3 we have now Rico, The Boz, and Daisy. We really are major GRRA foster failures! Saving these dogs from their past situations is extremely rewarding. We just love doing it and thank all of the other GRRA volunteers for letting us help.
Thank you, Ken, for all you do for GRRA and our goldens! You and Nancy have been such a wonderful addition to the organization and we are fortunate to have you as volunteers!