It’s time to look back on 2022! Check our blog between now and New Year’s for a variety of stories and memories of 2022 from the staff and volunteers of the Wildlife Center of Virginia.
My first day on the job as Executive Vice President of the Wildlife Center of Virginia was Monday, October 5, 2005.
My final day? Saturday, December 31, 2022.
That works out to 6,286 days.
During that time, I’ve been asked, approximately 6,286 times, “so, what exactly is it that you do at the Wildlife Center?”
My answer has been, more or less, the same:
I help lead the development/fundraising team. I help with public relations to help share the stories of the Center’s work with the public. I work to make sure that the trains stay on the tracks … and run on time.
I’m not a vet. I’m not a rehabber. I’m not directly involved in animal care. But I work to make sure that my colleagues who have those jobs have everything they need to do their life-saving work.
That’s my Wildlife Center career in a nutshell.
During my 6,286 days, the Center has admitted about 48,000 patients. I haven’t diagnosed or evaluated or treated or injected or bandaged or exercised or healed any of those animals – not one.
Not all of us can be vets and rehabbers. But, maybe you’ve transported an animal to the Center. Or, maybe you shared the Wildlife Center’s phone number with a neighbor who found an orphaned squirrel in their yard and didn’t know what to do. Or, perhaps you made a donation or sponsored a Caring for Critters animal.
We may not be vets and rehabbers, but we can still do our part to help save wild lives.
I live in daily awe of my colleagues.
I mean, I work with people who serve as “moms” for bear cubs … who make heartwarming videos of the release of a Canada Goose or the treatment of a toad … who gut a mealworm to feed to a tiny Northern Long-Eared Bat … who craft a tiny hockey shin guard splint for a Barn Swallow … who can take hours to carefully release a snake from a glue trap … who inspire thousands of school children and adults to be good wildlife stewards in their communities. My colleagues do this every day.
They are able to do that because of us – those of us who don’t have those skills, but who care about wild animals, and who want to help.
So, what’s next for me?
I’ll still be around. I’ll continue to be involved at the Center as the Senior Advisor to the President [that would Ed Clark]. I’m going to spend some time working on the Center’s Legacy Society – those wonderful individuals who have let us know that they have included the Wildlife Center in their estate plans.
I’ll help Ed and our colleague Amanda with questions about budgeting and finances and management and train schedules.
And, I’ll continue to be in awe.
In awe of my talented colleagues.
And, in awe of the kind, generous folks across the country who make possible the Center’s life-saving and life-changing work.
Thank you for this opportunity.
-- Randy Huwa, Executive Vice President