Thursday, February 14, 2013
Making a Difference
There are many times in life when you should take the time to say, “Thank you for making a difference!” Today, I am taking that time to properly thank my supervisor, teacher, mentor and friend, Joe Hoffmann, Sanctuary Manager.
Volunteer Sherry Seavers and Sanctuary Manager Joe Hoffmann with a patient
I have been volunteering at World Bird Sanctuary’s Cathyrn G. Favre Wildlife Hospital for 4 years, helping with the rehabilitation of injured and sick birds of prey. I began this journey afraid, insecure and unsure of myself. I was terrified at the idea of handling a trained or wild bird of prey. With Joe’s help, I was able to overcome that fear.
Throughout the years, Joe has taken great care in teaching many volunteers, including me. He takes the extra time and effort to ensure each of us can handle the responsibilities given to us at the hospital. We do everything from cleaning to feeding, administering medicine and handling birds of prey.
Joe challenges all of us at our own pace and knows when we are ready to grow and become stronger. One day he told me, “You are getting that eagle today,” and I nervously laughed. He told me, “You can do it! I will back you up! Everything’s going to be fine and you’ll do great!,” and in fact, it was!
This is something I never dreamed I would be able to do!
I nervously put on my protective gear, stood in front of that cage door, took a deep breath and went in! Joe backed me up and I was now holding a wild Bald Eagle for the first time. Tears just started pouring down my face, not only because I was holding a Bald Eagle, but because I never thought I would be strong enough to do that. The one thing I can always trust is Joe will always be there to ensure my safety. He does this with so many volunteers and it’s impressive to see people shine in a way they didn’t think possible.
I am very lucky to have such a great mentor that sees strength in me that I don’t see. I am still amazed at what I am capable of doing and I owe this whole experience to Joe. Without his constant dedication to the betterment of volunteers, I wouldn’t be the strong, confident and humble volunteer at World Bird.
Submitted by Sherry Seavers, World Bird Sanctuary Volunteer