I took early retirement in 2005 and after a few years of catering to my own need for a break from responsibility, it was time to start giving back to the community.

I joined the KTTC as a board member in February of 2009 on the suggestion of a friend who knew of my interest in volunteering. She was driving with me in Pennsylvania a few years ago when I saw two people using a live turtle they had found as a football. I told her to stop the car and jumped out shouting at them to stop torturing the turtle.

Once I had persuaded them to release the turtle and got back into the car, it struck me that it was a really stupid thing to do in rural Pennsylvania where carrying a gun is legal and common. But I guess that vision of me jumping out of the barely-stopped car waving my arms and shouting stayed with her and when she heard that KTTC was looking for volunteers, I seemed like a logical choice.

The birth and growth of the KTTC is an impressive story of dedication, loyalty and hard work to help and protect a much misunderstood and maligned wild creature that has become endangered in the mad human rush to develop every piece of land possible and to drain “ugly” swamps and wetlands that offend the short-sighted human eye.

Since I have no experience or expertise in handling wild animals, I offered what I have – time and a commitment to environmental preservation. That led me to the fundraising side of KTTC, a job not too many people willingly take on, especially in the current economic climate. So I came to fundraising by default — no one else wanted to do it.

I have not regretted that; it has been a sometimes depressing, but mostly exhilarating learning experience that has stretched my abilities far beyond what I would have thought possible and introduced me to some amazingly generous, caring people.

What keeps me involved is the absolute commitment of others in KTTC, especially the founding members and long-term volunteers who have stayed dedicated for more than eight years now, never giving up in their efforts to help these ancient and now defenceless species.

My commitment is to work at whatever KTTC needs from me as a board member until we attain long-term financial stability.