Airport thanks Humane Society helpers

Published 4:10 pm Monday, September 17, 2018

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

Excitement built as the low roar of an engine started.

Children, teens and their families sat waiting their turn for a ride in the small aircraft.

For the majority of the young riders, it would be their first time ever being in an airplane.

Ken and Nancy Gilliland, owners of B&G Flying Service at the Chilton County Airport, gave the rides as a special thank you to the young people that help the Human Society of Chilton County.

“We wanted to show appreciation to them for everything they do for the community,” Nancy Gilliland said. “It’s a big thing. Animals are sometimes forgotten, and they really go to great lengths to help them.”

Lightwood Church of Christ helped out during the event and donated food for the after-flight party.

Students 5 years old and older volunteer for the Human Society in a variety of ways. Some volunteer at the animal shelter.

Abigail Huffman, 16, has volunteered each weekend for about a month and a half at the animal shelter. She said it started as a way to get needed volunteer hours for school.

“My mom is one of the employees, so I came to work with her every Saturday, so I could volunteer,” Huffman said.

After she completed her required hours, Huffman continued volunteering because she enjoyed it.

“I really like working with the cats,” Huffman said. “I’m a really big animal person. My two choices for when I get older and going to college … would be either a veterinary or some kind of missionary doctor.”

Others volunteer fostering the animals as they wait to be transported.

Some of the volunteers help get animals ready to fly from the airport to rescue organizations in other states.

Kristen Hayes, 9 years-old, said she like to volunteer “because it’s fun.” Her grandmother Pat Hayes works at the Human Society and had got her interested in volunteering.

“We foster (animals) all the time,” Pat Hayes said.

She said Kristen and her other granddaughters help load the animals for transport, help walk the dogs and take care of them when she has a foster pet.

On the day of the rides, 10 dogs, mostly puppies were being prepared for a ride to Enterprise where they will be flown to Orlando.

Tina Austin, one of the adult volunteers helping with the transport, said each of the rescue organizations that receive animals from Chilton County have been researched.

“We don’t want to send anything blindly,” Austin said. “I want to know where these dogs are going.”

Before flying the animals out of Chilton County Airport was an option, Austin said sometimes the Humane Society had to drive animals to Enterprise in order to get them on the plane to Orlando.

“Having a plane come to Clanton has been sort of a miracle,” Austin said.

This has only been an option for the last year.

This option has made it possible for the animal shelter to have a low euthanasia rate and get more animals to rescue organizations, who can get them adopted.