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Hernando neighbors | Mary Howerton, 64

Humane Society volunteer devoted to her animal friends

Mary Howerton, who moved to Spring Hill in 2000, volunteers for the Humane Society of the Nature Coast in Brooksville.

JEAN HAYES | Times

Mary Howerton, who moved to Spring Hill in 2000, volunteers for the Humane Society of the Nature Coast in Brooksville.

How long have you lived in Hernando County, and where do you live? Where did you live previously?

I moved to Spring Hill in 2000 and live in River Country Estates. In 1976, I moved from Indiana to Miami.

Who are the members of your family?

I have two grown daughters who both share my love of working with animal rescue groups. The rest of my family consists of senior cats and cats with special needs. Not everyone wants to adopt these older souls, and it gives me great satisfaction to provide quality of life for them.

Recently, Kramer, one of my senior felines, co-sponsored the Humane Society of the Nature Coast's golf tournament along with Gail Spada of Century 21 Alliance Realty. Kramer was quite proud to be the spokescat for the Humane Society.

Tell us about your career.

I worked in banking and finance for most of my adult life. While I loved this work, it doesn't compare to the time I spend volunteering for the Humane Society of the Nature Coast, helping accomplish needed tasks and spending time with the animals. They each have their own personality.

Are you involved in any other activities?

I try to devote as much time as possible to the shelter. It's a lot of fun, and I have met so many nice people. There is a wonderful camaraderie among the volunteers, and we are always trying to think of new ways to promote our homeless pets and the shelter, and, believe me, we are innovative. I am always excited to meet new volunteers and I love to show them around the facility. I find most of my new friends through volunteering.

The Humane Society is raising money to purchase land and build a larger care center for animals in need. Currently, I'm working on the upcoming Cruising for Critters poker run on June 4. AAA Auto Club South in Spring Hill is sponsoring the fundraiser. This year, the grand prize is a three-day/two-night vacation along with a $100 debit card toward expenses. For more information about the fundraiser, call Trina Bowden at AAA at (352) 683-3446, ext. 2242

Do you have any special hobbies?

I wouldn't call them hobbies, but I do like to sew when I have the time. Right now I'm working on Christmas stockings for the Pet Expo, which will be this November. Organizers want them available to the children so they can have presents for their parents. Other volunteers are gathering items so the children can fill the stockings. I'm always begging for donations for special projects like this one.

I'm also very involved in finding sponsors for the Humane Society's Fur Ball, which is in September. There will be a silent auction, and all proceeds will benefit the Humane Society of the Nature Coast's building fund. I'm working closely with Joanne Schoch, executive director, on organizing the auction. This is where I can really have some fun, since I don't take no for an answer. There is always something that someone can donate to the auction to help save a life.

What are your favorite things to do in Hernando County?

First, I think Hernando County is a lovely place to live. So many nice people and very quiet compared to Miami. Everything here is special to me, and I don't have to fight the traffic every day. I love the slight change of seasons that I didn't get in Miami. I especially appreciate going to Pine Island in the morning when it's quiet. I take my muffin and coffee and just sit watching the birds.

What do you think would make Hernando County a better place to live?

I wish all Hernando residents would get more involved in local nonprofit organizations. Not only do we do wonderful work with a very small budget, but so many others do as well. With just the donation of your loose change each day, you could make a big impact for a good cause. A community is only as good as the residents make it.

Tell us something about yourself that most people don't know.

I won the Vanderburgh County (Ind.) American Cancer Society award two years in a row for my study and potential cure of cancer in chickens and mice.

Hernando Neighbors is an occasional feature of the Hernando Times. Do you know someone who would make a good profile? We'd like to hear from you. Contact Jean Hayes, community news coordinator, at jhayes@sptimes.com or (352) 848-1438.

Humane Society volunteer devoted to her animal friends 05/28/11 [Last modified: Saturday, May 28, 2011 10:22am]
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