SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The weather couldn’t have been better Saturday for a fundraising walk centered around some four-legged friends.
Dozens of people and their dogs participated in the 11th annual Tracey’s Hope Memorial Pet Walk at McDade Park in Scranton. Besides a walk through the park, the fundraiser also featured a car show, vendors and basket raffles.
The animal hospice and rescue group holds the event to support pets in need and grieve the ones who are now dearly missed. This day also pays tribute to supporters and volunteers who’ve passed on since the last walk. As Eyewitness News Reporter Mark Hiller explains, that also included a Duryea woman who meant so much to the organization.
“Dear Sally, I know you’re up there listening to this,” Denise Kumor, CEO of Tracey’s Hope said while reading a letter she penned.
It’s a message from the heart before an audience of dogs and their caregivers.
“I know you’re here today in spirit because I can feel you here,” Ms. Kumor said.
The powerful sentiment is about Tracey’s Hope volunteer Sally Ozark who dedicated her time and talents to the organization for a quarter-century. Helping mistreated pets was her passion right up until her death this past February.
Ms. Kumor said, “She helped with all the rescues. She was on the animal rights team. Worked with the courts and police.”
Sally’s legacy included getting more than a dozen malnourished dogs rescued from a home in Moosic.
“Sally did a lot of the underground work, the surveillance. So, Sally was behind the scenes with a lot,” said Ms. Kumor.
“She just had an enormous heart and a giving heart and a love of animals from when she was a little girl,” said Toni Ozark about her late sister.
Getting animals to safety included Sally sharing her own home with them.
“She would do anything she possibly could to take care of a discarded animal or an abused animal or an animal that nobody loved anymore. She loved them all,” Ms. Ozark said.
Eyewitness News Reporter Mark Hiller recited the poem “Rainbow Bridge” which included the line, “So long gone from your life but never absent from your heart”. Amid the emotion of loss, the founder of Tracey’s Hope vows to continue the organization’s mission. Helping animals like Layla who needs a $2,500 operation is what Sally would have wanted.
“I will always love you Sally and I miss you so much. I miss you,” said Ms. Kumor as she released balloons into the sky in tribute to her friend.
Tracey’s Hope is based in Duryea but its work fans out throughout surrounding counties.