Highland County Humane Society President Honored

The American Red Cross recently held it’s Celebration of Heroes event, honoring heroes in different categories who make an impact every day.  Corena Huffman, the President of the Highland County Humane Society, is one of those heroes.  She was recognized for her work and given the 2022 Animal Humanitarian Hero Award from the American Red Cross, Central Virginia Chapter.

“I was shocked,” says Huffman.  “I didn’t even know there was such a thing.  I was surprised and humbled.  I’m kind of really good at the behind the scenes and getting things done, but surprised to have that award brought to the public’s attention and, kind of, my work, and our work, with Highland County Humane Society brought into the public light.”

Huffman is one of the founders of the Highland County Humane Society.

“About ten years ago, the group that was running the animal shelter kind of changed their mission and we wanted to fill in that gap of animal rescue and that’s what we started out doing in 2012,” says Huffman.  “And as the years went along, we noticed more and more need from the public, what we consider pet retention.  So public needs such as free pet food, transportation, free spay/neuter, subsidizing and helping with veterinary bills, borrowing supplies, answering questions or trying to determine if animals needed to see a veterinarian, that sort of thing.  And so although our primary mission is animal rescue, to help animals here in Highland and our neighboring counties, we’ve also kind of grown into this community service organization as well.”

Huffman was nominated for the award by Pat O’Neil, who lives in Augusta County and is a Red Cross volunteer.  She and her husband also volunteer as a foster for both cats and dogs for the Highland County Humane Society.

“She does a terrific job out there of networking with people, other organizations, she’s a licensed vet tech,” says O’Neil.  “So she’s really careful with the animals.  They are all spayed or neutered and they all have their shots and if there’s anything else that they need medically, she’s really good at overseeing that and making that happen.  And part of making that happen is fundraising and she seems really, really good at that.  Not everybody can do that.  I think she has a real talent for this.”

Since the Highland County Humane Society does not have a building, all the animals are fostered in private homes.

“They do a wonderful job and I hope that some of this publicity lets people know that they’re there,” says O’Neil.  “And if they do have the ability to foster or if they find a stray animal, or sadly sometimes they have to be surrendered due to family problems or whatever, to know that Corena is there to take care of that animal and make sure that eventually it gets a good home and is cared for in between.  And also I want to say that there are some very devoted volunteers in Highland County.  Kathryn Weller does a tremendous amount of driving of these animals to and from the vet and also to deliver them once they’re ready to go, if they are going to another location to be adopted.  Corena is the driving force, but there are a lot of other people out there who do a really good job and put a lot of time and effort into it.”

For more information about the Highland County Humane Society, call it’s new number 540-468-1575.

The website is www.highlandcountyhumanesociety.org or Highland County Humane Society on Facebook.


Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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