An expanded team of professionals takes the reins of the Hawaii Island Humane Society this month to usher in the next phase of the organization’s development.
Major milestones in 2019 will see the opening of the Animal Community Center, expansion of the ability to spay, neuter and rehabilitate animals under HIHS care and a continued emphasis on enhancing the bond between people and animals.
“We are thrilled to announce a three-person management team who will work directly with our staff, volunteers and community and report to our board of directors,” said HIHS president Adam Atwood.
Lauren Nickerson, a Harvard Graduate and Fulbright Scholar with a masters degree in education and compassion for animals that need help, will be the new community programs director. She will oversee HIHS education and community outreach programs, ramp up the volunteer network and be the contact for fundraisers and donor support.
If you see Nickerson out and about, she probably will have Pearl, a blind and deaf dog she adopted through the HIHS Second Chance Fund, tagging and wagging along.
Regina D.R. Serrano will be the new shelter operations director for all three HIHS shelters located in Keaau, Kona and Waimea. Serrano is a graduate of Purdue University’s veterinary technician program.
In addition to her training in animal health care, Serrano spent the past 10 years managing employees working on job sites on and around three islands.
In her free time, Serrano has volunteered with HIHS and many other animal welfare organizations around the Big Island. Most recently, she volunteered countless hours to assist animal rescues during the Kilauea volcano eruption in lower Puna.
Robert Belcher, a Hawaii certified public accountant inactive, will be finance director. Belcher graduated from the University of Hawaii at Manoa with degrees in accounting and agricultural economics.
His work with Hawaii County and private businesses, combined with a commitment to community involvement, make Belcher uniquely qualified to guide HIHS through this next exciting phase of development.
“In addition to the management team, Hawaii Island Humane Society will be adding a second full-time staff veterinarian in February,” Atwood said. “The new veterinarian will serve East Hawaii, while Dr. Kristina Henricks will continue to serve West Hawaii. This will allow for more efficient and comprehensive care of the animals placed in our care every day.”
The HIHS Spay and Neuter Waggin’ also will continue to bring free sterilization services to some of the more remote areas of the island, where pets might otherwise continue to contribute to the overpopulation problem.
The mission of the Hawaii Island Humane Society is to promote respect for all animals, prevent cruelty to animals, eliminate pet overpopulation and enhance the bond between humans and animals.
HIHS has a contract with the county to enforce certain animal-related laws, and it offers 24-hour service for injured animals and other animal emergencies, humane education classes, low-cost spay and neuter services, lost and found assistance, microchipping and more.
For more information, visit HIHS.org or call 329-1175.