Come meet a remarkable woman: Holly Reynolds, a 96-year-young resident of Baton Rouge, La. Holly has so much to commend her as a stalwart animal advocate, but there’s one part of her biography that is absolutely startling: she attended the first HSUS annual meeting in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1955.
She’s probably the only surviving member from that original meeting, where board chairman Robert Chenoweth and CEO Fred Myers rolled out their vision for the National Humane Society, which would soon be renamed The Humane Society of the United States.
She was in on the original idea that the nation needed a group that would not only professionalize the field of animal protection, but also work to tackle the large-scale problems beyond the reach and resources of local organizations. We’ve worked to abide by that original mission for six decades, and to give it more power and resonance now than ever before.
Holly’s been an unfailing advocate of The HSUS and the larger cause of helping all animals. I had a chance to sit down with her and speak at our Animal Care Expo about that first annual meeting, about her work for animals, and her work with The HSUS.
Holly’s a living bridge to the founders of the organization, and a reminder that the ideals that animate us today found their origin in great women and men working tirelessly and selflessly for our cause in a collective way in the 1950s. Those founders, and the people who’ve carried on their work, remain heroes to me, and no one more so than Holly, who still gets up every day thinking about how she’s going to make the world a better place.