Humane Society honors local volunteers

Kathy Little and Amanda Fleck are recognized for donating their time and talents

timestamp icon
category icon News, News
Kathy Little, of Camas, sorts through donated Christmas decorations at ReTails Thrift Store, in Vancouver. Little has volunteered at the store for about a year-and-a-half. Proceeds from the sale of the holiday items, as well as clothing, books, electronics and sporting goods, benefit the Humane Society for Southwest Washington. "I knew I wanted to do volunteer work once I retired, and I have a strong connection with dogs and cats -- especially homeless ones," Little said.

It is springtime in Southwest Washington, but at least two Humane Society for Southwest Washington volunteers are talking a lot about Christmas.

Kathy Little and Liz Gayhart contribute their time categorizing, inspecting and pricing various donated goods in the back room at ReTails Thrift Store, 5000 E. Fourth Plain Blvd., Vancouver.

The donations include Christmas wreaths, nativity sets, stockings, hats, pillows and Santa figurines. There are also recent donations of Easter candles and Halloween costumes.

Little, of Camas, usually volunteers six to seven hours, two days a week.

That increases to four or five days a week, during the busy Christmas season.

“Both myself and Liz absolutely love our jobs and really look forward to our workdays,” Little said.

“It feels great knowing the work we do helps to place homeless animals in forever homes,” she added.

At home, Little, 64, has a dog and a parrot.

She said the volunteers at ReTails could always use more space. A “great wall of wreaths” is already filled with yuletide decorations displayed with ribbons of many different colors.

Prior to retiring, Little was a buyer of housewares, furniture and holiday products for Fred Meyer, then Kroger.

Gayhart, 67, is a former Camas resident. In the 1950s, she attended the first and second grades at Oak Park School, 1718 S.E. Seventh Ave. — the current location of the Camas Community Center. Gayhart now lives in Vancouver.

Little, Gayhart and Amanda Fleck, of Camas, are among the volunteers who were recently recognized for going above and beyond by the HSSW. Fleck was named “Rookie of the Year,” for her first year of service.

Other honorees included David and Bobbi Olson (transport program), Deb Hutter (admissions), Alvin Carlson (clinic) and Susan Immer, Denise Gehrke, Morgan Gehrke, Dana Englebright and Emily Englebright (kitten foster mentors).

Additional volunteers who were recognized included Lesa Osilla (cats), Rosie Richter (dogs), Sharon Branning (laundry), Cacie Neveux (teen volunteer program), Jane Patten (administration/events/outreach) and Randy Shrake (adoptions).

Caty Hart received lifetime achievement recognition for her decades of service to animals, and volunteers voted Foster Coordinator Rachel Messerschmidt as “Staff Member of the Year.”

The Humane Society for Southwest Washington is located at 1100 N.E. 192nd Ave., Vancouver. For information about volunteer opportunities, call 693-4746 or visit