March 7th was a very proud day for the Richmond Animal Protection Society. Carol Reichert, Executive Director and Founder of RAPS won the Ethel Tibbits Women of Distinction Award in the category of business. Below is the submission that spoke of Carol’s contributions to Richmond.
Nomination of Carol Reichert for the Ethel Tibbits Women of Distinction Awards.
By Sonya Kamp
Carol Reichert is an extraordinary woman who has dedicated her life to rescuing the homeless and suffering animals of Richmond, BC. She has devoted years towards assisting the geriatric, low income and needy citizens of Richmond who need help caring for their pets. She has spent 20 years spaying and neutering Richmond’s feral feline colonies, which has been the leading factor in getting Richmond’s cat population under control. Carol Reichert is the founder and Executive Director of the Richmond Animal Protection Society, which operates North America’s largest cat sanctuary on No 6 Road in Richmond and she has run the municipal city shelter for the last four years. Carol Reichert deserves this award, because despite being heavily afflicted with Rheumatoid Arthritis, Carol wakes up every morning and dedicates her energy and time towards helping people and animals in need.
I first met Carol in January 2007 when I was applying for a job with the Richmond Animal Protection Society (RAPS) as a kennel attendant. RAPS had recently been awarded the contract for the city shelter, and Carol was hiring staff, organizing volunteers, and making arrangements to move into the facility at 12071 No 5 Rd by February 2007. Richmond could now proudly call itself a no-kill city.
While working for Carol, I began to learn about her life. Her career started in Richmond as a flight attendant for Pacific Western Airlines. It was here that she met her husband Chuck Reichert and then started a family in Richmond. Her passion for animals was evident right from the beginning as her husband often caught her filling her suitcases with cat food, which she would then distribute to the various feral cat colonies along her flight route. To Carol, feeding homeless animals was more important than having nice clothing.
Richmond Homeless Cats became a registered charity in 1989. This non-profit, no-kill society embodied Carol’s mission: every life is a valuable life. Through the dedication and hard work of numerous volunteers, Richmond Homeless Cats trapped, fixed, and vetted thousands of Richmond’s needy cats. No cat was overlooked based on age, medical condition, or temperament. The majority of cats trapped were returned to their environment to live out their lives, but the ones that needed extra care were provided a safe sanctuary. From this vision the RAPS Cat Sanctuary was born. Today it is North America’s largest cat sanctuary, housing more than 800 homeless cats. As a result of Carol’s long and tedious hours of trapping, feeding and transportation, a peaceful cat sanctuary was born – a sanctuary where cats are freed from want or need. Aiding Carol have been hundreds of dedicated volunteers that donate their time, money, and strong backs towards a cause that is truly inspirational.
In 2006, Carol and her team of volunteers applied for the City of Richmond Animal Control and Shelter contract. In 2007, their hard work and efforts paid off and the Richmond Animal Protection Society (formerly Richmond Homeless Cats) was awarded a two year contract to run the municipal shelter. For the first time in history, the City of Richmond became a no-kill animal sheltering municipality.
As successful and well known as RAPS was becoming, Carol never faltered in her energy and passion towards her cause to assist needy people and animals. Her days included helping elderly citizens with nail trims and vet appointments, delivering veterinary medicines to low income or homeless pet owners, trapping cats and finally developing a community cat spay/neuter program to continue to curb the growing cat population. She juggles these tasks while making lunches for her five grandchildren, caring for her personal pets (most of which have the most time consuming medical conditions), being a friend, being a manager and finally, being a wife. Every day Carol has a smile on her face and you’ll never find her in a bad mood. She often says, “we are truly blessed to be able to do this work”. There couldn’t be a more truthful statement; Carol projects a lightness and positivity that shines from her wherever she goes.
If what Gandhi says is true, that the greatness of a community and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated, then Richmond is truly a great community and behind this greatness is Carol Reichert. Without a doubt she is a woman of distinction.