We are sad to see Gary Willoughby leave his post as the SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare President and CEO. The work that he’s done in his five years with the agency will have a lasting impact on the community.

Clearly Willoughby is a builder – one of those rare individuals who has the vision and leadership to make important things happen.

Willoughby is leaving Aiken for Toledo, Ohio. Our loss is their good fortune. But for someone with his talents, his work here is done.

Last year, the nonprofit moved into a newly-constructed 20,000-square-foot building on Willow Run Road. The larger, better equipped facility is much more able to deal with the thousands of homeless and abused animals taken in each year. It even has a state-of-the-art spay/neuter clinic that recently opened.

Leading the charge to build such a facility isn’t easy. Just raising the money needed can be back-breaking labor.

Clearly the effort was worthwhile for Willoughby since he’ll be doing it again – the Toledo humane society where Willoughby is going, wants to build a new shelter.

While the new facility may be the monument to his success, Willoughby’s most lasting impact in Aiken my be the relationships he forged with other animal groups and Aiken County. All of these organizations working together makes for a much stronger animal welfare system.

We wish Willoughby much success in Toledo.

And we are confident that the work he did in Aiken County will continue.