MHS Announces Outstanding Volunteer and Employee of the Year Awards

By Monadnock Humane Society

Steve Schumacher honored as Volunteer of the Year
Ashley Okola honored as Employee of the Year

February 12, 2021 Swanzey, NH — On Thursday, February 4, 2021, Monadnock Humane Society announced the awards for Volunteer and Employee of the Year at their 2020 virtual Annual Meeting. This year’s honorees were chosen from among dozens of nominations submitted by co-workers and MHS volunteers. The final selection was made by nominating committees that were comprised of MHS staff, volunteers, and former award recipients. The Volunteer of the Year was chosen based on how the person demonstrates passion and commitment to the MHS mission. This person can always be relied upon to do whatever is needed, and in many cases, even more. They are also wonderful ambassadors for MHS in the community.  To be eligible for the award, nominees must actively volunteer at MHS for at least a year.  Employee of the Year nominees are chosen based on the person’s ability to consistently go above and beyond in their job, as well as their demonstrated passion and commitment to the MHS mission.  Eligible nominees must be an MHS employee for at least a year.

This year’s honorees are:

2020 MHS Outstanding Employee of the Year

Ashley Okola, Assistant Shelter Manager/Feline Coordinator

woman holding a cat.
Ashley Okola, 2020 MHS Outstanding Employee of the Year

Ashley began her work at Monadnock Humane Society with a wealth of knowledge, having a master’s degree from Tufts. She is a big thinker and always looks for new and creative ways to solve problems. She enjoys mentoring and guiding new shelter employees in a sometimes overwhelming environment. Ashley is always professional and never hesitates to jump in and do whatever is needed – whether it’s animal care, triaging incoming phone calls, or helping with some of the marketing initiatives. And, she always does so with a positive, helpful attitude. Most recently, Ashley spear-headed the Foster Care Program, and was instrumental in moving all the shelter animals into foster care during the COVID crisis. She always goes the extra mile in whatever she does. We are pleased to honor Ashley as the 2020 MHS Outstanding Employee of the Year.

2020 MHS Outstanding Volunteer of the Year

Steve Schumacher


man kneeling next to his dog outside.
Steve Schumacher, 2020 MHS Outstanding Volunteer of the Year

Steve is someone you can really depend on. You can count on his smile, calm demeanor, and willingness to help. Steve is passionate about caring for the dogs at MHS. It doesn’t matter if it’s raining, snowing, sunny or windy, Steve will do his absolute best to take every dog for a walk so they can enjoy some fresh air and exercise while they’re waiting to be adopted. If there are any dogs who are not able to go for a walk, Steve gives them lots of love, treats and cuddles. He even takes hard-to-adopt dogs to downtown Keene where they can get more exposure to potential adopters. He also helps to train the dogs in basic commands and leash walking, which also makes them more adoptable.  In addition to helping care for the animals, Steve is always willing to assist with any task that is needed. For example, when MHS needed someone to help out at a community fair, he not only set up the booth, but stayed throughout the day talking with visitors about the MHS mission and the services that are provided to the community.  It is a great pleasure to present the 2020 MHS Outstanding Volunteer of the Year award to Steve Schumacher.

For more information about Monadnock Humane Society, and to download a copy of our 2020 Report to the Community, go to our website:  To watch the award presentations at the 2020 Annual Meeting, a recorded version of the entire event is also on our website.

Monadnock Humane Society – celebrating its 145th anniversary this year – is a private, nonprofit organization that serves the Monadnock Region, which includes 44 communities. MHS cares for an average of 1,600 animals each year with a staff of 28 and the help of over 250 volunteers. Its mission is to strengthen the animal-human bond by promoting and providing for the well-being of animals. MHS receives no state or federal funding, and is not affiliated with any other agency or organization.  It is supported solely by the generosity of those in our community. For more information, visit To get the latest news about MHS, follow us on social media (Facebook and Twitter).