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In any dictionary, the definition of devotion is “love, loyalty, or enthusiasm for a person, activity, or cause.” Brigette encompasses the definition of devotion when it comes to her passion for rescuing wildlife and educating children and adults on the truths about wildlife and the environment. With what was once just an idea at a kitchen table, Brigette has filled a much-needed niche in the Kentucky communities she serves through starting the Second Chances Wildlife Center (SCWC). A woman who started with nothing, and has endured unthinkable obstacles, such as volatile neighbors, zoning issues, divorce and becoming a single mom, still managed to make a difference in the lives of others. An example of Brigette’s devotion to SCWC can be seen on a daily basis. She uses her personal SUV to transport rescue wildlife to those who request her services because there is no money in the budget to purchase a vehicle big enough for safe transportation of animals. She has sacrificed so much of herself to help save animals in need, and she is the only person I know who leads a “rare life.”

Brigette fosters compassion and the desire to make good choices for wildlife and for us. Her humanitarian mission is to offer a second chance at life to those animals that need it. She provides a safe and loving environment for hundreds of animals in need. She cares for animals around the clock, and she teaches college interns to do the same. As the founder, executive director, program designer, fundraiser, and lifeline of SCWC, Brigette brings home $30,000 annually to support her and her daughter. Not only is her salary not enough to keep up with the costs of living increases in the 21st Century, but it also does not reflect her worth. Brigette has been offered higher paying jobs, but continues to make personal sacrifices because of her devotion to SCWC.

Almost half of Brigette’s time is spent teaching over 2000 children each year. The impact she has on these children is undeniable. After almost every class she teaches, children come up to her afterwards asking how they can do what she does. I wish you could see the amazing rapport she has with children. Words do not do it justice. Children are not always taught compassion, but they have an opportunity to see it first hand with Brigette. She has brought behaviorally-challenged teen boys to tears. In the world that has such few positive role models, our community is lucky to have Brigette. Her passion is contagious.

I admire Brigette's devotion to Second Chances Wildlife Center. Not many people would have made the sacrifices she has to keep the nonprofit afloat. She is a little person making a big impact. I admire her ability to connect with children so they choose to make good choices for our environment. I admire her large heart and positive attitude, even when faced with extreme, rare challenges. She devoted 7 years to SCWC without making one penny! In fact, she used a lot of her own money towards animal care and the growth of her programs.

A $50,000 donation would mean long-term sustainability for SCWC. First, Brigette would be able to buy a vehicle to transport animals in instead of using her own. Her personal SUV has high mileage, significant wear and tear, and it will not last much longer. Second, Brigette would be able to purchase a new, state-required septic system at her public center. The price tag on a new septic system is $18,000. Without financial assistance, Brigette cannot afford to buy the new septic system that the state is requiring her to purchase. With the ability to host onsite programs now, children need access to bathrooms; therefore, the public center cannot open until the septic system is installed. Third, Brigette would be able to purchase the educational materials she needs to serve the high number of schools that request her services (i.e. $2000). The remainder of the funds would go towards animal care to include medicines, vet visits, food, and formula.

Brigette and her organization often go unnoticed until people need her; although, people are needing her more and more. Despite her strong educational background and mile-long list of credentials, Brigette is humble. She spends her time working tirelessly to save lives and educate children. I have never met such a hard worker. She is always there for her community, and right now, she needs her community to be there for her.

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