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Regional Animal Services and Sheriff’s volunteer Animal Rescue Team honored as “Real Heroes” by the American Red Cross for service during Washoe Fire

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The Washoe County Sheriff’s volunteer Animal Rescue Team and Washoe County Regional Animal Services are among local responders being honored by Governor Brian Sandoval and the American Red Cross as “Real Heroes” during Thursday’s “Real Heroes” Breakfast in Reno.

“Staff and volunteers from Animal Services endured heavy smoke and winds to evacuate more than 100 animals from Washoe and Pleasant Valley during the Washoe Fire,” the Red Cross said in an announcement for the event. “Many beloved animals were housed in the evacuation center at the Reno Livestock Events Center, nurtured and cared for by this marvelous group of people until it was safe for them to return home.”

This year’s “Real Heroes” Breakfast honors the first responders and unsung heroes whose “remarkable courage” exemplifies the humanitarian spirit demonstrated by the community-wide response community to the recent series of disasters that included the vehicle versus train accident in Churchill County, the shooting at the Carson City IHOP, the accident at the Reno Air Races, and the Caughlin and Washoe Fires.

“Back-to-back disasters this past year disrupted many lives, but also brought out the best from a community that responded with compassion and hope,” Pam Howland of the American Red Cross said.

The breakfast will be held this Thursday, March 29, from 7:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. at Harrah’s Reno. For information, contact Pam Howland at (775) 856-1000, ext. 120.

Several northern Nevada residents also expressed their appreciation for the efforts of Washoe County Regional Animal Services during the Washoe Fire through letters, donations and even a couple of home-made pies from Pleasant Valley resident Janet Cook and family.

Cook said Animal Services helped rescue her family’s horses, llamas, chickens and goose as the fire threatened their neighborhood and they wanted to show their gratitude with something more personal than a “thank you” card.

“When something like this happens it dawns on you just how much Animal Services does for the community,” she said. “They braved all sorts of dangers and hazardous condition to collect critters belonging to residents being threatened by the Washoe fire. They certainly deserve some pie for that.”

Animal Services Manager Barry Brode had only been on the job for a few days when the Washoe Fire broke out. He said he was amazed by the professional, proactive and clear-headed response by the staff and by Animal Rescue Team volunteers from the Sheriff’s Citizens Emergency Response Team program.

“This is what Animal Services prepares and practices for,” Brode said. “During the Washoe Fire they exceeded all my expectations. They did their job and they did it extremely well.”

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