Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center
Charlie Norwood VA employee named Augusta Red Cross Hero
June 20, 2018
Chenoa Shields. (Courtesy Photo)
AUGUSTA, Ga. – A Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center employee is the recipient of the Augusta Area 2018 Red Cross Hero Award for Animal Rescue.
Chenoa Shields, who works in the VA Augusta fiscal department as a program analyst, received the award June 19 at a breakfast ceremony.
A U.S. Navy Veteran, Shields started this work in 2015 as she moved from active duty to civilian life. She was, however, aware of the problem well before then. “I had some colleagues in the Navy that did volunteer (around 2010), but I thought it was an unmanageable problem at the time,” she said.
In 2015, she discovered an at-risk animal in the CSRA community, a pit bull who lived life on a chain and lived under a shed.
“She was pregnant and needed a place to have puppies and it all started form there,” Shields said.
Watch a video from the Red Cross about Ms. Shields' award here: https://youtu.be/sU-piL-jblY
Since then, Shields has saved 51 dogs taken from area kill shelters and elsewhere. Shields uses her own money to provide food, medical care and supplies for the canines, fostering them in her home and then networking each dog for adoption. She also screens potential adopters and often brings the pets to their new homes, traveling as far as Chicago and Richmond, Va., to deliver.
“The joy on an adopter’s face upon first meeting their new dog is priceless! I wouldn’t miss it for the world,” she said.
Her work also places her close to Veterans. One canine she’s worked with has gone on to be a Veteran service dog. She has also delivered rehabilitated pets to Veterans in the community. “The cool part doing this and working for the VA, especially with Veterans, is that I’m also able to say to Veterans, ‘If you ever need anything from Charlie Norwood, let me know.’”
Susan Everitt, executive director of the American Red Cross of Augusta, thanked volunteers for what they do at the awards breakfast.
“To do what we do we partner with so many other people and organizations and partners throughout the community,” Everitt said. “We just can’t say thank you to them enough because truly we could not exist without them.”
Shields said her satisfaction comes from being able to rehabilitate an animal from the brink and transition them to a warm, loving home. “I’m able to take dog that is about be put down and thrown away and get it to a loving home. That makes it worthwhile.