By now you have heard about the new role I have accepted up north near where I was born. While I am excited about the opportunity and humbled to be selected after an exhaustive national search, I will certainly miss everyone associated with the SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare.

My position has been one not unlike a quarterback in the National Football League. Sometimes you get too much of the credit when things go well and too much of the blame when things are tough.

I am very proud of the part I played in improving the operations of the SPCA, financially, operationally, and how we are viewed by the public. However, I just played a part in the effort and couldn’t have done anything without many wonderful people I have had the good fortune to meet along the way.

I first and foremost have to thank the board of directors who selected me for the position in the first place. This was my first role as a leader in an animal welfare organization and I had never lived in South Carolina before I heard about this position in Aiken, a town I hadn’t heard of previously either.

They took a chance on me and I’ll never forget that. I wouldn’t be able to tackle my new role if this group of men and women hadn’t believed in me in the first place. I especially want to thank Barbara Nelson who has been a friend and a mentor this entire time and my success is directly tied into her efforts and leadership. In order to insure a smooth transition in the management of this wonderful organization, Barbara will be stepping in as President/CEO.

I also owe a debt of gratitude to the employees that I’ve worked with over the years. Their hard work each and every day taking care of animals, processing all the paperwork that is needed, their customer service, their passion for our cause made my job more rewarding and my life a little easier each day. In particular, I want to thank my management team of Sybil Altman, Michelle, Randall, Chrissey Miller and Betty Erikson for their leadership, teamwork, passion for the cause and their willingness to grow professionally as our organization grew.

I can never forget our volunteers either. I was a volunteer in animal welfare for 15 years before taking on this role and I know firsthand how important their work is to our success. Thank you so much to everyone who helps in giving their time and talents to the SPCA or any other charity in our community. You make such a difference.

Finally, the donors to the SPCA deserve so much credit for their generosity in supporting us the past 78 years, helping us build this facility and to help keep us going in the future.

The SPCA is entirely dependent upon private donations, grants, and support; we cannot rely upon a government to buy the food or pay the light bill if we don’t break even for the month; therefore we rely upon our thrift stores, financial support from the public, and surgery fees to generate income. Last week we began a new venture to generate funding; the Wag Inn on Wire Boarding kennel. It is located at our newly renovated, former shelter on Wire Road. There are large exercise areas, secure kennels and suites, and full time staff to care for and entertain your pet while you are out of town.

From Barbara Nelson, president and CEO of the SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare:

As Gary stated, we have a very good management team in place.

They all work very hard at overseeing their programs and employees and making sure that our animals are well cared for, that we offer first rate customer service and help to callers with animal related issues, and that the facility, thrift stores, and dog park is clean and tidy.

This community has helped to build one of the finest animal shelters in the nation and has supported the SPCA’s efforts to reduce admissions to our shelters.

We will continue to be worthy of your support.