Mar 19, 2012 Amanda Seef Uncategorized
A lover of animals and a woman with a heart full of compassion, Diane Smith worked tirelessly to help those in need.
She acted as the liaison between Fairmount Animal Hospital, where she worked as the finance director for years, and Shamrock Animal Fund, a local not-for-profit that helps pay for veterinary work.
“That was her greatest mission in life — trying to help,” said Fairmount Animal Hospital co-owner and veterinarian Eileen Fatcheric. “It wasn’t just the animals, it was for people, too.”
Smith, of Marcellus, passed away in February from pancreatic cancer. Her spirit will shine on at Shamrock Animal Fund’s annual event, Shamrock’s Celebration, next week. The event has been dedicated in her memory and two local vets will be receiving the newly-minted Diane Smith Service Award.
Shamrock Animal Fund, founded by Fayetteville husband and wife Jamie Pomilio-Mulcahy and CNYCentral news anchor Matt Mulcahy, works to help fund veterinary trips for sick or injured pets of owners who demonstrate dire financial need. The fund has worked with more than a dozen Central New York animal hospitals, including Fairmount Animal Hospital, to provide emergency and life-saving veterinary care for animals.
Diane served as the liaison between the hospital and the fund.
“She had a very strong sense of dedication,” said her husband of 38 years, Ronald. “When she believed in something or believed that something was right, she would use every bit of her talent.She would apply all of her skill, all of her energy to whatever she believed in. And she believed in Shamrock.”
After the fund’s inception, Fatcheric said Diane reached out to the Mulcahys to see what she could do to help. Diane was adamant about helping the pet and its owner, working to do all of the background work to make sure the animal received the proper care.
“Shamrock was important to her because it actually not only helped the pets, the animals, but Diane also had a lot of compassion for people who weren’t in the best of financial situations,” Ronald said. “The combination of the two — people who had financial problems and had a pet that could be saved if they could afford to get the treatment it needed — the combination of those two scenarios was very important to her.”
Diane had been acquainted with the animal hospital since she was a kid, as a lover of animals. She wanted to be a veterinarian but her path took her down the financial road, Ronald said. After graduating from Syracuse University, she started on a part-time basis doing work in accounts receivable for the animal hospital, working up to the financial director. After her passing, Ronald suggested donations be sent to Shamrock Animal Fund in lieu of flowers.
Now, organizers of the annual Shamrock’s Celebration, to be held next week in Syracuse, have decided to dedicate the event in Diane’s memory and name their annual award highlighting the work of local animal activists and veterinarians after her.
“She was very honored,” Ronald said. “She was one of those people, whatever she put her heart and hands to, she succeeded at, but she never acted that way. She never made a point of letting people know what she was accomplishing and would generally not talk about it. That’s just the way she was. She didn’t do things for attention or recognition, her reward was always the way achieving those things made her feel. If she helped somebody and her help resulted in a successful situation, that was enough for her.”
Two local veterinarians, Dr. Nancy Freeborough of Syracuse and Dr. Marco Coronado of Cazenovia, will be receiving the Diane Smith Service Award at the March 24 event.
Freeborough has owned the Nottingham Pet Clinic in Syracuse since 1985, providing low-cost care and spay and neutering for agencies. Coronado is a veterinarian in Cazenovia, providing low-cost care to pet owners. Fairmount Animal Hospital was honored last year.
Smith, Corondado and Freeborough will all be honored at the celebration Saturday, March 24. It starts at 6:30 p.m. at King and King Architects, on the edge of Armory Square in Syracuse. Tickets and more information are available online at shamrockanimalfund.com
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