Alex Holcomb Named 2020 Werner Kaplan Volunteer of the Year

2020 Volunteer of the Year: Alex Holcomb

Dog walker. Weekend foster. Kennel cleaner. Puppy raiser. Overnight neonate monitor. Puppy Kindergarten helper. Play group facilitator. Behavior evaluation assistant. FSD volunteer Alex Holcomb does it all—and does it with a smile and a “How else can I help?” spirit. For her positive attitude, her willingness to jump in whenever needed, and her excitement about learning new and different parts of the organization, we are thrilled to announce that Alex has been named our 2020 Volunteer of the Year!

Three years ago, Alex discovered Freedom Service Dogs online after her beagle passed away and she was considering adopting a dog. While she ultimately decided she wasn’t ready for a new fur baby, the idea of volunteering with dogs and helping FSD pursue its mission resonated with her. Since that time, Alex has become a constant presence at FSD, taking on a wide variety of volunteer opportunities and providing invaluable assistance in every aspect of FSD’s operations.

Upon being named Volunteer of the Year, Alex said, “It is a privilege to be a part of the FSD volunteer community, to be in the company of such exceptional nominees, and to learn from dedicated volunteers and staff who inspire me every day. I am honored and humbled by this recognition and feel it reflects the efforts of all FSD volunteers this year to keep the mission relevant and thriving. This challenging year afforded unique volunteer opportunities connecting me with volunteers across the organization and staff in various departments (and LOTS of puppies!) and gave me a greater appreciation of how each individual contributes to the success of FSD. 

When I wasn’t certain what my personal direction was this year, FSD became my purpose, my family, and my rock, and I’m eternally grateful. Volunteering with FSD has been the most rewarding experience of my life. To be recognized by the Kaplan family is indeed an honor, because to me, they represent the heart of philanthropy and volunteering: giving to others by giving of yourself. I heard a very timely phrase earlier this year that perfectly sums up the strength of the FSD family: ‘If you can’t do what you do, do what you can.’ I’m so proud to be a part of this family.”

Here are some words of praise for Alex from FSD staff members:

“From picking up middle-of-the-night shifts to allow the nursery team a few extra hours of sleep, to taking time off work in order to sign up for back-to-back overnight shifts, to teaching obedience cues to puppies before they go to prison, Alex’s enthusiasm for the nursery has helped set our puppies up for success. We couldn’t do it without her!”

“Her never-ending support of FSD has been ever-apparent in her willingness to participate in every possible opportunity. Whenever we send out an email asking for assistance, Alex is always the first person to respond saying she’d love to help.”

“As FSD has worked to continue operations during COVID-19, Alex hasn’t missed a chance to help out and has continued to volunteer through this tough time. She is so invested in the dogs and the organization, and she is someone who we always reach out to when we need an extra hand. Alex is so willing and excited to learn new things and take on whatever new challenge we send her way.”

Congratulations, Alex, and thank you from the puppies, dogs, and people of FSD!

The 2020 Volunteer of the Year nominees were Helen Cassella, Barry and Linda Christen, Cathy Kennedy, and Alex Holcomb. Congratulations to all these deserving nominees, and thank you for your dedication and hard work!

Normally, we would be gathering at FSD for our annual Volunteer Appreciation Night, where we honor the service of all our volunteers and announce our Volunteer of the Year. But since we can’t be together in person this year, we’re singing the praises of our amazing crew of volunteers in this virtual celebration and announcement of our 2020 Werner Kaplan Volunteer of the Year! On behalf of the clients, dogs, puppies, cats, and staff of Freedom Service Dogs, many thanks to our dedicated volunteers for making our life-changing work possible. You truly are simply the best! 

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