A crew of volunteers from Mason Company, a Leesburg company specializing in pet enclosures, spent last Saturday updating all of the Highland County Humane Society’s kennels. Not only did the volunteers donate their time, but all of the brand new chain link panels and stall fronts were donated as well, Mason Company Plant Manager Troy Brown told The Times-Gazette.
Brown and Humane Society General Manager Kamela Kordik both said the Humane Society never would have gotten its upgrade if Tony and Janie Burns, who both work at Mason Company, hadn’t taken their dog, Xena, to one of the Humane Society’s spay and neuter clinics back in April.
”We had looked at having Xena spayed,” Janie said. “She was going on 4 years old, and it was going to cost us over $300 — almost $400 — [at the vet]. I’m never on the computer at home, but I saw Kamela’s post on Facebook about the clinic, and I said, ‘Tony, they’re having a clinic in Leesburg.’ We got it scheduled, and Tony went to pay for it.”
Kordik said that when Toney Burns came in to pay, he noticed the shape the kennels were in and offered to talk to someone at Mason Company to see if they would help fix them. Brown said that, at first, Tony Burns just wanted to donate his own time to relace the chain link in the panels, but once word reached the Mason Company management, it became a bigger project.
”It got through to management, and they said, ‘Maybe we’ll just replace it all,’” Brown said. “That’s what the company wanted to do: replace it, donate it and have employees who want to volunteer install it.”
Though it took a few months to get everything in place as Mason Company was bought by Midmark, a clinical environmental design company located in Dayton, around the time Tony took his dog to the Humane Society clinic, Midmark was as interested in replacing the Humane Society’s kennels as everyone else, Janie said.
”My boss got involved. I gave her all the pictures we’d taken of the old kennels, and she took them to Midmark’s board meeting. Her boss said, ‘We’re in Highland County, right? How bad would that look if we didn’t take care of our own?’” Janie said.
When the day to install the new panels came around, seven people showed up to donate their time and help install the new panels: Troy Brown, Jeremy Cox, Lige Tyler, and the Burns family, Tony and Janie and their sons, Hunter and Isaac. They worked from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The original chain link panels, it turns out, had also been done by Mason Company, Kordik said, though they were installed 50 years ago when the Highland County Humane Society began in 1969. Kordik said that the old panels were rusted, and many had holes. Some of the holes had been patched with what Kordik said she believed were oven racks.
“We had cages we couldn’t even put animals in,” Kordik said. “We’re very happy to have a company that’s willing to give back to the community like this. It’s just amazing.”
Though both Mason Company and Midmark are passionate about giving back to the community, they both recognized that their employees played a large role in making sure the Humane Society’s kennels were updated. Janie told The Times-Gazette that, though Tony’s really the reason it happened at all, he didn’t want recognition. He just wanted to come in and work on the kennels.
Humane Society General Manager Kamela Kordik told The Times-Gazette that the Humane Society never has enough bleach or kitty litter, but they could also use a handy man to do small things, like hanging blinds and framed photos.
To contact the Highland County Humane Society, call 937-393-2110. Any donations can be dropped off at the Humane Society, located at 9331 SR 124 in Hillsboro. Mason Company Plant Manager Troy Brown said that Mason Company is always looking for new teammates. Check out employment opportunities at masonco.com/contact/employment or midmark.com/about-us/careers.
Reach McKenzie Caldwell at 937-402-2570.