Jefferson Award winner: Preston Rook

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Highlighting Local Volunteers

The Jefferson Awards engages the Partners in our communities to highlight local volunteers. The goal is to spotlight the great work they do and to inspire our community to put their service ideas into action.

From the 2019-2020 Honorees, a local panel of judges select one winner that will travel to the National Gala in Washington, DC. to represent Northeast Kansas.  From the nationwide winners, one will be selected for a national Jefferson Award.

CLAY CENTER., Kan. (KSNT) – This month’s Jefferson Award winner, Preston Rook, is a man from Clay Center who spends a lot of time in the dog house, the good kind though.

The Clay County Animal Rescue and Education Center in Clay Center has only existed for a couple of years.

It was started by a group of dog-loving community members like Preston Rook.

“Community this size should have an animal shelter and we didn’t and I felt very strongly about that so I wanted to get on board with that committee and help create an animal shelter for our community,” Rook said.

The shelter has been home to hundreds of dogs since; dogs that were either lost and waiting for their owners or ones looking to get adopted.

To help increase their chances of getting a forever home, Rook started crafting funny write-ups for the dogs.

“The little write up did for Facebook for Cedric and said he was at a guys weekend in Vegas playing a slot machine for an hour and a half at the Bellagio parking lot, turned out it’s a parking meter there’s now free parking level thee space 63 for the next year and a half.”

But Preston isn’t just donating his witty writing skills to help the dogs, he spends countless hours helping around the shelter, and always with a smile.

“Preston was the one that was always volunteering to be there on Tuesday and Thursday morning at 6 AM and some of us others would straggle in at 6:10 or 6:15 and Preston would already be going strong,” Sandy Fox, CCARE Board member, said.

What you might find interesting is that Preston thinks of his time with the dogs as therapy.

“Hobby or an escape really, I can come in here grab a brush grab the cleaning solution put the dogs out.”

Because when Preston isn’t at the shelter, he is at work, a place filled with grief and sadness.

As a funeral director, Preston spends his days helping families enduring their hardest times.

“I’ve got an hour, an hour and a half by myself don’t have to listen to the telephone, don’t have to worry about anything, get a little loving from the dogs, its therapy, it’s gross therapy but it’s therapy.”

To view the animals available for adoption at the shelter and to see some of Preston’s writing, click here.

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