Irene Towell, branch manager of the BC SPCA’s Alberni-Clayoquot Branch in Port Alberni, was honoured with the society’s Lifetime Achievement Award at the BC SPCA’s annual Awards Dinner held May 6 in Abbotsford.
The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes and honours an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the lives of animals in B.C.
BC SPCA chief executive officer Craig Daniell noted that Towell has saved the lives of tens of thousands of animals since joining the BC SPCA more than 30 years ago.
“For more than three decades Irene has been at the forefront of the animal welfare movement and is a highly respected authority, not only in her home community of Port Alberni, but in surrounding communities where she works tirelessly to raise the standard of care for animals,” said Daniell. “Irene is continuously working to improve her shelter, providing extensive training and support for her staff and volunteers, and initiating innovative new programs for shelter and community animals. She always makes herself available to help her SPCA colleagues, who often draw on her extensive experience in shelter management, cruelty investigations and community outreach.”
While she has had a profound impact on animals in Port Alberni, Towell’s influence is felt far beyond her home.
“For more than a decade she has worked with First Nations communities on the West Coast, often travelling long distances on her own time to support outreach work for animals in Tofino, Ucluelet, Ahousaht and surrounding areas,” said Daniell.
“She has been instrumental in the transfer of hundreds of homeless animals from West Coast communities through the Drive for Lives program to more populous centres where they have found loving homes.”
Daniell describes Towell as a humble and hardworking individual who quietly goes about her daily work with compassion, dedication and a commitment to and every animal that needs her care.
“Despite having already saved thousands of animals, her focus is always on the next animal who needs her help, and her determination to make a difference never wavers.”