Monday, January 12, 1998

Name: Curtis Washburn
Age: 35
Education: Fairfield University
Occupation: Humane Society volunteers coordinator
Hobbies: Tennis, beach

Sustaining a pet shelter

The new coordinator of volunteers for the Hawaiian Humane Society is surrounded by animals at work, but he can't take one home because he lives in an apartment that doesn't allow pets.

And that's too bad, because Curtis Washburn grew up with a cat in the house.

"A cat has always been part of our family," he said. "We joked she runs the house more than we do."

At work, Washburn said he's surrounded by people, both volunteers and staff, who want to make Hawaii a better place to live for both humans and animals.

"Some people are motivated by money," said Washburn. "I'm motivated by the feeling you get by doing something positive. I get up in the morning and look forward to work because I'm doing something that is making a difference. I'm working with other people who are also making a difference."

As volunteers coordinator, Washburn is responsible for people more than pets. He is in charge of the recruiting, training and retaining of the society's 350 volunteers.

The volunteers work in adoptions and animal care, assisting with clerical tasks, foster care, and dog grooming. They also help out with the society's special events, like the Santa Paws program and the Fantasies in Chocolate fund-raiser.

"The volunteers are extremely important," Washburn said. "The life of the shelter depends on volunteers. We couldn't function properly without them."

Humane Society volunteers work at least three hours a week and are asked to give a six-month commitment. They range in age from 7 to 70, and come from a variety of backgrounds. But they are all united in their love of animals.

Washburn was formerly co-director of Volunteers for Peace, a group that organizes weeklong community service projects. He placed 500 American volunteers a year in 50 countries. "It's like a short-term Peace Corps," Washburn said.

Washburn was raised in Connecticut and has two brothers and a sister. He worked with his father in a civil engineering and land surveying firm but decided the family business was not for him.

Craig Gima, Star-Bulletin

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