September 2021 Volunteer of the Month: Cathy and Craig Brown
Meet Cathy and Craig! RASKC is profoundly pleased to honor Craig and Cathy Brown as Volunteers of the Month. They are among RASKC’s top foster volunteers. Foster Care Coordinator Lori Mason said, “I love them!” Since they began in 2012, Cathy and Craig have contributed more than 6,600 hours, mainly fostering- also with animal transports and previously with RASKC’s former program Mission Reunite: Help & Hope for Lost Pets. Their dedication is astounding, and their consistently cheerful attitudes are very infectious. Thank you, Craig and Cathy!
Q: How did you hear about RASKC?
Cathy: I knew about the shelter from looking for my lost pets and from adopting from you.
Craig: In addition to what Cathy said, we heard about the foster program from a booth at Renton River Days.
Q: Please describe a memorable moment you’ve had with an animal.
Cathy: The most memorable was getting our first foster adopted. It was at Kent Cornucopia Days. The family came back three times over two days to make sure the child really wanted that particular cat. The family kept in touch with us for several years with many updates on how well Little Blue was doing.
It’s a great joy knowing that we’re helping cats have a better life. It’s truly awesome to see a scared kitten realize that play is okay. They really come out of their shell and turn into loving cats. Craig is especially good at getting kittens to play. I call him the Cat Whisperer.
Craig: Teaching a very shy, scared brother-and-sister pair of kittens to love and trust us “big things” stands out. They went from hiding in the corner and hissing at us, to becoming a loving, snuggling pair of young cats who liked to sleep in laps and on the bed with us – when they weren’t playing! I’ve found I have a knack for working with the very scared and shy kittens. I love to see them become loving house cats. It’s been a real joy to work with such a wide variety of cats, from kittens to seniors.
Q: Tell us about yourselves.
Cathy: I’m a silly, goofy, fun-loving girl- the middle of three children. I’m Scottish and Irish. I was born and raised on the east hill of Kent and graduated from Kentridge High School. We had nine acres, about half of it was woods. We kids would go play in the woods for hours. To this day, I find the woods soothing.
Craig and I met at Highline Community College in the data processing program. We have lived in Renton our whole marriage- 45 years. I love cats, both big and small. We have cat stuff all over the place- figurines, pictures, posters, and clothing.
I square dance. I also enjoy reading (mainly sci-fi/sci-fantasy, and mystery), kayaking, hiking, geocaching, and most especially road trips.
I worked for Boeing for 40 years. I started as a computer programmer, then programmer/analyst, then test analyst, and ended as an analyst. I received many customer-appreciation certificates for a job well done, both on teams and individually. I also received a Sustained Service award from a customer. That is given for ongoing high-quality service. That is about the highest praise you can receive from a customer.
What’s especially important to me: Treating others with care and respect and honoring my commitments.
Craig: RV traveling, geocaching, and kayaking are my main interests currently. I’ve had a lot of different experiences, from high atop mountains to below sea level (both wet – skin & SCUBA diving; and dry – Death Valley and the Dead Sea). I’ve bicycled across the state, and I’ve traveled across this country many times. We’ve visited other countries, including China, Great Britain, the Caribbean, Iceland, Israel, and Jordan. My wife and I do so many fun things in many different parts of the country and world.
My other interests are reading (mainly sci-fi), rock climbing, caving, photography, magic, hiking, and snow camping.
I find humor in many things. Mathematics and logic come easily to me. I’m a great planner, a creative thinker, analytical, and a procrastinator. I also take pride in my humility. My motto: De Libertas Quirks = “Freedom to be Peculiar” and “I am not strange, I’m weird – it pays better!”
What’s especially important to me: The Lord Jesus Christ. The freedom to explore this world. Cats.
Q: What other organizations have you volunteered with?
Cathy: The American Lung Association honored us as Volunteers of the Year.
Craig: We helped staff the American Lung Association’s bicycle rides for 20 years. We also raised funds and rode the rides. It was a lot of fun. We wore costumes, blew horns, marked the routes, and helped with photography. The riders loved us. It was really meaningful to Cathy, as asthma runs in her family. Early on, when I began helping the American Lung Association, I was Volunteer of the Year- unusual in that I was a first-year volunteer (never happened before), and the first balloting was unanimous. Years later, Cathy and I were named Volunteers of the Year as a couple.
Our other volunteer activities:
- NW Harvest: We helped pack food for those in need.
- Friends of the Cedar River: We did clean-up and habitat restoration.
- King County Parks: We did trail maintenance.
- Mountaineers: I was a climb leader, climb instructor, and First Aid instructor.
- National Ski Patrol: I was on the Hyak Patrol for a few years.
- Westminster Chapel: I led hikes and climb weekends for students in middle school and high school.
Q: What else would you like to say about volunteering for RASKC?
Cathy: It’s a lot of fun. I like the variety of having both cats and kittens. The people are great and very caring. I love knowing we’re making a difference and giving the animals a second chance at life.
Craig: It’s both easy and hard. Fostering cats brings much joy, seeing them get to the point of adoptability. But it’s also tough to say goodbye, some more than others.
Q: Fun fact?
Cathy: I am and was a magician’s assistant.
Craig: I spent most of my professional life controlling people’s minds and making them see what I wanted them to see- in other words, I performed as a magician.