RECOGNITION & HONOR FOR CEDAR RUN VOLUNTEER
In the realm of thankless jobs, volunteering can often be found right near the top. While the work itself may be quite rewarding for each individual, the recognition given to volunteers is oftentimes lacking. In fact, many volunteers complete their service without any expectation of recognition or honors. We make a focused effort at Cedar Run to show our gratitude to the 200+ volunteers that make the work we do at Cedar Run possible. These accolades are greatly appreciated, but rarely expected. This year, an exceptional honor was bestowed upon one of our incredible volunteers that has brought great pride and joy to all of us here at Cedar Run.
In the spring of 2020, I nominated our volunteer Richard Jones for the NJ State Governor’s Jefferson Award for his service in the category of Animal Welfare. Honorees of the New Jersey State Governor’s Jefferson Award achieve measurable community impact and represent outstanding acts of public service, without the expectation of recognition or compensations.
The BD Animal Welfare category recognizes individuals whose exemplary volunteer service involving or on behalf of animals has a positive impact on health and well-being in their community. As a result of the pandemic, the 2020 Award Ceremony was delayed until February of 2021. I had hoped that Richard’s exemplary commitment to the mission of Cedar Run would make him an excellent candidate for this honor and recognition. Much to our delight, at the virtual Ceremony in February, it was announced – that Richard was the recipient of the Award!
I have worked with Richard since he started volunteering with us in 2014. At that time, Richard had recently retired from a career where he started in the Air Force and subsequently spent 45 years as a software developer with Computer Sciences Corporation developing software for the United States Navy combat systems. Prior to his volunteering at Cedar Run, Richard had no experience with wildlife. If you spoke with Richard today, you would see that
he has become quite the expert in the fields of wildlife rehabilitation, habitat conservation, and environmental education. He volunteers in a number of capacities with us including hands-on care of injured and/or orphaned patients, training non-releasable educational raptors, and assisting with education programs.
For many years, I have witnessed Richard’s dedication first-hand. He volunteers late at night feeding orphaned baby raccoons, early in the morning cleaning enclosures, on the coldest winter days, and in the scorching heat of summer. All the while, he is tremendously modest and humble, describing his volunteer work as a privilege. Shortly after becoming a volunteer, Richard even brought on his wife, Pam, as another dedicated volunteer that is willing to do whatever it takes to save the lives that are counting on us. Together they have both been a force in propelling the mission of Cedar Run since their very first day.
Richard says “Volunteering at Woodford Cedar Run has given Pam and I the opportunity to experience a very rewarding and purposeful retirement. We discovered the passion that we feel for wildlife and for their important role in the Pinelands ecosystem. We have learned so much! It’s truly an honor to win the Jefferson award, I feel that it’s a privilege to help and be part of the great team at Cedar Run. The staff, volunteers & interns all share a kindred spirit for wildlife care.”
It is my hope that this recognition sheds light on the remarkable service not only of Richard, but the many volunteers that continue to dedicate their time and energy to protect and preserve our native wildlife. I am so proud of Richard and I’m enormously grateful for his continued efforts in advancing our shared mission. Congratulations and many thanks to you Richard!
— Mike O’Malley, Executive Director