By Chris Bavender
After five years at the helm of the Humane Society for Boone County, Mike Hancock stepped down from the role in mid-October. In a letter to the Humane Society Board of Directors he said he wasn’t resigning, but rather opting not to run for another term.
“It is bittersweet to step down, but I have given nine years of service to this organization and I feel that I need a little break to recharge my batteries,” Hancock stated in the letter. “I think I will now spend more time fishing with my 3-year old-grandson. I will, however, continue to support and volunteer for this organization.”
Susan Austin, a former board vice president and long-time volunteer, will serve as the new president.
“Mike and I have always worked very closely together. It’s a lot of questions and answers and calls about things that have broken and need fixed, and he has been doing this for five years, and you don’t do that if not for love of the animals” she said. “But he has a great little grandson he wants to spend more time with, and I sure don’t blame him.”
Austin said her background with HSforBC will help her tackle the added responsibilities.
“Being a small organization we have always all worn multiple hats and worked in all positions as the need has arisen, and the more you are there you know more of what needs done and ways to get it done,” she said. “I also don’t take no as an answer. It is a challenge to overcome. ‘No’ is an opportunity to find another way to achieve that goal.”
Austin said she comes into the role at a time that is exciting and crucial for the organization. A building for the county’s first animal shelter is being renovated, and the county’s first animal control officer – deputy Hannah Fisher – will start in that role at the beginning of the new year.
“It is extremely exciting to see that the county council sees the need and refocused resources to outfit that need to take care of abused and neglected animals in Boone County,” Austin said. “We have also been talking about having an animal control officer for so many years, and so it’s great to see it come to fruition. It brings new challenges but also new opportunities.”
Opportunities include recruiting even more volunteers to help at the new shelter, from cleaning kennels and caring for the animals to data entry to helping write thank-you notes to donors and others.
“We have so many things to look forward to as an organization, and this is a time we can really start to blossom,” she said.
Hancock looks forward to seeing what the future holds for the HSforBC.
“I am thankful for the opportunity to serve and to lead this organization during our most productive and dynamic years to date,” he said. “And I hope those efforts are eventually overshadowed by future accomplishments as the organization continues to accomplish great things in and for the Boone County community.”