Jack Nelson presented with the 2021 Ellen Glasgow Award for Humane Service
Our 23rd Annual Fur Ball was held Saturday, November 6 at The Jefferson Hotel. Along with being our nonprofit’s largest annual fundraiser, providing the most significant source of support for the veterinary treatment and rehabilitation we deliver to thousands of sick, injured and neonatal homeless pets each year, it is also the occasion at which we present the Richmond SPCA’s highest honor, the Ellen Glasgow Award for Humane Service.
The 2021 Glasgow Award was given to John (Jack) R. Nelson, Jr., who is the immediate past chair of the Richmond SPCA Board of Directors and a faithful supporter of our mission. Jack’s outstanding service to this organization is best captured in the remarks delivered by Chief Executive Officer Tamsen Kingry in presenting the award on Saturday evening.
Presentation of the Ellen Glasgow Award
I have the great honor and privilege tonight of presenting our Ellen Glasgow Award for Humane Service to someone who has been a wonderful coach and mentor to me, an enthusiastic cheerleader for our entire team, a dedicated ambassador for our organization for more than a decade, and a generous supporter of our crucial work to deliver help and hope to animals and the people who love them.
That person is the immediate past chairman of the Richmond SPCA’s Board of Directors and current Board member, Jack Nelson.
When I called Jack to tell him that he would be receiving our organization’s highest honor at this year’s Fur Ball, he and Katherine were in the car. After I shared with him the good news, there was silence on the other end of the line. I waited a few seconds, thinking we’d been disconnected, and then I said—Jack, are you still there? Finally, Jack let me know he was on the phone, but that he was too surprised to respond. This may have been the first time in the last 10 years that Jack has been at a loss for words.
While Jack may have been surprised, our Board, staff and I are certainly not, and no one else should be either. Not if you know, like we do, how much Jack has done to champion our cause and further our mission; to provide consistent and generous leadership, especially during a global pandemic; to encourage, motivate and reward our staff; to model exceptional, heartfelt philanthropy; to encourage others to support us, whether it’s through fundraising, adopting or volunteering; and to make time, and I mean real time, to prioritize and serve our mission.
As a new chief executive officer, I could not have asked for a more supportive chairman of the Board or a better partner through the COVID-19 crisis, and I will never forget the enormous kindness he has shown to me and to every member of our team.
Jack’s superb leadership coupled with his wisdom, patience and generous heart, have made the Richmond SPCA a stronger and more effective organization to care for and save the lives of animals. We thank our lucky stars every day to have Jack in our corner. Every organization should be so fortunate.
Jack, for these reasons among countless others, no one is more deserving of this award tonight than you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for keeping our organization so close to yours.
Tamsen Kingry, Richmond SPCA CEO
Acceptance of the Ellen Glasgow Award
I am deeply honored to receive the Ellen Glasgow award from the Richmond SPCA. I am particularly flattered that I follow the prior recipient Robin Starr whose contributions to the Richmond SPCA and animal welfare are legendary.
I wish to thank my fellow board members who selflessly donate their time, their expertise and their money to support this wonderful organization.
And I thank all of you attending for supporting the Richmond SPCA and the work they do for the dogs and cats in our community.
We should all thank Tamsen and her entire team for their dedication and hard work to make the Richmond SPCA a preeminent animal welfare organization in the country. I don’t know if you all appreciate how outstanding the staff and volunteers of the Richmond SPCA are. During the worst of the COVID year the Richmond SPCA remained open seven days a week every week caring for the dogs and cats in their temporary home there. The animal hospital and veterinary services remained opened throughout the pandemic. You cannot empty litter boxes, walk dogs and heal injured and sick animals via Zoom call. The staff was there day in and day out doing all that and continuing adoption services. Remarkably not one staff member or volunteer contracted COVID from this workplace. A tribute to the excellent workplace practices the management team put in place and adhered to. While they are not all here tonight because like every weekend and weekday there are staff and volunteers taking care of their furry charges, I ask all the Richmond SPCA staff members here tonight to stand so we can applaud their tireless efforts on behalf of homeless and needy dogs and cats.
On a personal note, I want to acknowledge and thank two people here tonight, my lovely wife Katherine and my beautiful daughter Alex. They taught me by their example how to love all creatures great and small. I love them both. Finally, I want you to know that the Richmond SPCA through the generous support of the folks in this room and beyond enabled Katherine and I to find and adopt our rescue dog Brady three years ago. While Brady isn’t here tonight because though he loves all people, but other dogs not so much. He did insist on dressing up for the occasion at our home.
So please be generous tonight so all the other Bradys and their cat cousins in this community can find the love and affection they deserve through the Richmond SPCA’s efforts.