October 17, 2007
We have lost a very important part of the HSBC family, Joni LaVigna. In Joni's case, "work family" wasn't just a cliché. While some people come and go from any job, Joni was a part of the very heart and mission of the Humane Society and her loss is deeply felt. Joni was one of the finest people we have ever worked with. She invested herself in her work and she truly cared about the animals she saved and about the future of the HSBC.
Joni exemplified true compassion in an animal welfare professional. She not onlyworked to improve the lives of the animals she helped, she also never failed to have compassion and show respect for the people she helped (and even those she prosecuted).
In a job that can make some people indifferent to suffering, Joni always maintained a deep sense of caring and kindness for those around her.
When she was asked to take a leadership role in the HSBC, she agreed only when she was assured that it was what the HSBC truly needed. She did not seek personal power or aggrandizement; Joni wanted only to do what would make the organization succeed in its mission to help more animals. As much as any other person, she was proud of the accomplishments of the HSBC in recent years. Accomplishments she helped make a reality.
She told me that she cried the day that we opened the Cat Adoption Center because it was the realization of her dream for the animals and for the HSBC. Although she will not be with us in person as we continue to fulfill her dreams, she will very much be with us in spirit. Joni couldn't wait to see the completion of the new Dog Adoption Center, slated for spring, 2008. She was excited to see what we could do now for dogs, as we had for the cats.
That is why the staff and board of the HSBC are doing something to honor her life and her work. We have committed to personally donate $25,000, over five years, each to our own capability, in her memory in order to name the new facility the Joni LaVigna Dog Adoption Center. In the spring when the new LaVigna Center is complete, another of Joni's dreams will be realized and in her memory and honor we will ensure that we keep realizing them.
Please join us in extending our best wishes and prayers to her family and friends.