Our volunteer of the month, Jennifer Michaels-Kelly, is more than just a helping hand for our organization. The Washington D.C. Coordinator has dedicated so much time and love to helping others, that she was also named “Volunteer of the Year,” last year.
She got started with Dogs on Deployment (DoD) after meeting other volunteers from her husband’s work. She says, “I volunteered for an event and it was just really successful.” She adds, “Then, I had a lot of ideas and I wanted to get involved.” After that, she was hooked!
It didn’t take long for Michaels-Kelly to be invited on as a local coordinator. She was thrilled, truly believing in the mission of DoD.
“It’s so important to get the word out there, and help these people so that they can have full lives with their pets,” said Michaels-Kelly.
Michaels-Kelly is an extraordinary volunteer because she truly enjoys what she is doing, and understands our soldiers’ unique needs. She came from a military family with furry friends of their own.
“Coming from a military family, and [having] a crazy mother who loved animals and made sure that they could come with us everywhere we went — it was kind of like my worlds colliding between the military and the animals,” says Michaels-Kelly.
Spreading the word about DoD is most important to Michaels-Kelly. She says she is always trying to make sure people know about the organization.
“It really is a great way of being able to help your troops, in a way that you wouldn’t think of. I get such enjoyment out of it. I feel guilty sometimes because I get people thanking me and telling me what a great job I’m doing,” said Michaels-Kelly.
Michaels-Kelly’s dogs, Marley and Doobster (and don’t forget her cat!), are all part of the reason she loves volunteering so much.
“My dogs are my children,” said Michaels-Kelly. “If somebody told me that I’m going to fight for my country, but when I get home I wouldn’t be able to see my children, well, I had some trouble with that.”