CORNER BROOK — For more than 30 years, Evelyn Hancock gave herself to the animals and people of western Newfoundland.
It was never about recognition for the Irishtown woman, it was more of a passion and dedication to the welfare of animals. However, when she was recently honoured with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, it was a nice feeling for her to feel appreciated.
“It means a lot to me,” Hancock said. “My heart just went in my mouth. To be appreciated for all the years you put into an organization ... it is worth a lot.”
As strictly a volunteer with the Bay of Islands SPCA, she served various roles and took on many duties. She will be most notably remembered for the years she spent as shelter director and special investigative office. In the latter capacity, she served the west coast, Northern Peninsula and as far east as the Baie Verte Peninsula.
“Evelyn was the go-to person for the SPCA and could be called upon at any time,” states the press release, which accompanied the medal presentation. “She worked closely with the RCMP and RNC when needed to rescue neglected or abused animals.
“Her countless hours of commitment and dedication to the SPCA and animals that needed to be helped is immeasurable.”
It all began for Hancock when a woman in the community wanted to adopt some kittens. She visited the shelter, got two kittens and a cat for her, and she never stopped going back.
It was not an easy job at times, admits Hancock. There were difficult decisions to be made, many times unpopular ones within the general population, but it was the animals well being she always had at heart. To get her through the tough times, she said it was the good stories that kept her going.
“There are so many good people out there that do care for their animals,” she said. “All the success stories is what keeps you going. That’s the fuel, you dwell on the good stuff and that’s what gives you the energy.”
She said there are still people who come up to her now and tell her about the animals they adopted from her.
Hancock said she was far from alone in bringing the SPCA to what it is today. She said the amount of volunteer hours people have put in over the years is phenomenal.
She is no longer with the SPCA now, but she remains actively involved with animals through a private business. It is with the animals her heart lies, and that will never change, she said.