RecognizeGood is proud to honor Kathryn Lashmit as our May 2014 Legend award winner! Kathryn planted the seed for Therapy Pet Pals of Texas (TPPT) over thirty years ago, when she became inspired by an article on an experimental pet therapy program and visited a local nursing home with her little Pekingese. The smiles on the faces of those first residents kept Kathryn pushing forward as she ran the organization out of her bedroom for the first seven years, donating over twelve thousand volunteer hours and almost thirty thousand miles driven all on her own. Today, TPPT has over 225 certified volunteers, who serve in 90 nursing homes, healthcare facilities, assisted living facilities and intensive care wards – and who, over the course of the last thirty years, have donated over 250,000 volunteer hours, resulting in over two MILLION smiles.
Hays County District Attorney Sherri Tibbe, Kathryn’s niece, remembers, “It was a joy for me to watch her and just see what she did with the organization over the years – for the first ten years she and my uncle ran Pet Pals. They wrote the checks, they did everything for free, they never asked for any money in return – just going to the nursing homes and giving love.” Although Kathryn reminds us that “Pet Pals is God’s organization!” she has truly been the rock and driving force behind this incredible organization, donating over 42,000 volunteer hours herself, and building the structure that’s kept the wonderfully successful organization in the business of smiles since 1984. “A lot of nonprofits don’t make it thirty years,” says TPPT Deputy Director Kathy Grosch, “and because of this lady, we have made it thirty years. God gave her the amazing ability to make everyone feel welcomed, comfortable, accepted, and valued. And we are just thrilled that she has been selected as the 2014 May honoree of the RecognizeGood Legends program.”