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Feb. 9, 2017 - William Donovan, who volunteered 1,229 hours last year with the Redlands Animal Shelter, was recently named the shelter’s 2016 Volunteer of the Year. He has had a nearly lifelong mission to rescue kittens.

A lifelong Yucaipa resident, Donovan has been an advocate for animals since the 8th grade when he attempted to rescue three kittens from drowning.

“I witnessed this man I greatly admired drown three kittens in a bucket of water and toss them in the trash,” he said. “I was horrified. I found the three kittens still alive in the trash and took them with me. I tried to save them but they all died within the hour. I told myself, ‘I will retire someday and make it up to those kittens.’”

A ham radio enthusiast, Donovan got his electrical and general contractor licenses at 18 and later became an electrical engineer at Cal Poly, where he also earned his master’s degree and taught electrical engineering. He later went to work for Honeywell and eventually worked on missile guidance systems for Rockwell until his retirement.

He now volunteers most days at the Redlands Animal Shelter and is preparing to start the Redlands Citizen Volunteer Patrol Academy to become a CVP with the Redlands Police Department.

“Mr. Donovan’s passion lies with taking care of our cat population,” says Redlands Police Department Operations Manager Shayna Walker, who oversees the shelter. “He transports the cats daily to PetSmart in San Bernardino, providing our feline population more exposure and a greater opportunity for adoption. Mr. Donovan has devoted his time to this program and, because of him, our cat adoption rate has increased.”

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