RedRover Responders volunteers are known for sheltering animals in disasters and sometimes, that means lending a hand to small communities in need. Ten years ago, the Hancock County Animal Shelter in Mississippi was destroyed during Hurricane Katrina. After seven years of fundraising, the county was able to reopen the shelter in the town of Kiln. Since then, the tiny shelter has worked heroically to provide shelter for stray and abandoned animals. However, it had limited kennel space to help all the dogs and pups who needed their help.
This past week, a team of five RedRover Responders volunteers traveled to Mississippi to help construct new kennels for the shelter in a shelter renovation project led by Rescue Rebuild, a program of GreaterGood.org that helps renovate animal shelters and rescues in need. Over a period of 5 days, volunteers helped construct 47 individual chain link kennels, play areas, and 4 larger kennels for litters of puppies.
The grateful shelter staff welcomed RedRover Responders on the scene. “It means a lot to us to have you come help,” said Lynn, a veterinary technician at the shelter. “It helps us help the animals. We’ll have more room for more animals. Without your help, we couldn’t have done this.“
RedRover Responders are used to working directly with animals on deployment; this construction deployment was quite different. RedRover Responders volunteer Jodi Jenkins, from Bardstown, Kentucky, noted that this deployment,”was challenging, because we used different skills that what we’ve learned on other deployments. But it is an opportunity to learn new skills and help animals in a whole different way.”
Derrick Nicks, a volunteer from St. Augustine, Florida, was experienced in construction and building new facilities from his time in the Air Force as a combat installation team chief. “This work was right up my ally,” Derrick said. “It’s like we’re putting something together that lets them save more animals.”
Working with the team from Rescue Rebuild was an amazing experience. Rescue Rebuild is always looking for new volunteers to help renovate animal shelters and rescues in need. If this work sounds like fun, you can volunteer with them directly by going to www.rescuerebuild.org