April 18, 2024

NAVC Gives Awards $10,000 to Texas A&M Veterinary Emergency Response Team for Smokehouse Creek Fire Response

The North American Veterinary Community (NAVC) has announced Texas A&M’s Veterinary Emergency Team (VET) as a 2024 NAVC Gives award recipient for its admirable response to the historic Smokehouse Creek fire in the Texas Panhandle and continued dedication to veterinary education. The NAVC Gives award includes a $10,000 contribution in recognition of this herculean work.

“The Smokehouse Creek fire caused unimaginable injury and pain to farm and companion animals across the Panhandle,” said NAVC CEO Gene O’Neill. “Texas A&M VET sprang into action during a historic moment, providing critical services for affected animals and support for the community. Their work and commitment capture the spirit and intent of NAVC Gives to recognize those who are making a profound difference in the lives of veterinary professionals and animals.”

On Feb. 26, 2024, the Smokehouse Creek fire set ablaze in the northeastern Texas Panhandle, going on to burn more than 1 million acres of land and become the largest fire in the state’s history. Just two days after the fire began, the Texas A&M VET was on the ground to help. A team of 36 Texas A&M faculty, staff and veterinary students deployed across five counties in the region, providing veterinary care to hundreds of animals. In 10 days, the team checked 672 cattle and performed exams on 271 animals including cattle, horses, goats, dogs, cats and more. They also provided an invaluable educational experience for veterinary students during a lengthy emergency deployment.

“Thanks to the generosity of organizations like NAVC Gives, the Texas A&M VET is able to respond quickly and assist the animals and people impacted when disaster strikes,” said Dr. Deb Zoran, VET director. “Our donors also empower us to train the next generation of veterinarians — who are more likely to serve a community affected by a disaster than generations before them — in both disaster preparedness and response. The VET is incredibly thankful for NAVC Gives’ support, which has empowered us in our service and teaching missions.”

Texas A&M VET is a group of faculty, staff and students that responds to natural and human-made disasters by offering veterinary care for search and rescue teams and resident animals. Additionally, this team offers unique education experiences for veterinary students in the field of emergency response and management. It was officially formed in 2010, at the request of the Texas Animal Health Commission and the Texas Division of Emergency Management, with the goal of being prepared for future disasters.

Created in 2023, NAVC Gives is a board-directed award program that has been initially funded by a $1 million commitment from the NAVC. Through this program, the NAVC will recognize and support individuals, groups and organizations around the world that have made a significant difference in the lives of veterinary professionals and animals. Unlike most award programs that have a set timetable for accepting nominations, NAVC Gives will recognize accomplishments and notable achievements throughout the year based on the merit and impact of the application. Multiple awards may be given out each year and applications may be submitted throughout the year.

NAVC Gives builds upon the NAVC’s long-standing commitment to philanthropic pursuits, which amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to members of the international veterinary community through scholarship programs such as the Dr. Earl H. Rippie Veterinary Nurse Leadership Scholarships, the Michael J. Day AFSCAN Scholarship, the Colin F. Burrows International Scholar Program, free education subscriptions and conference registration and other charitable donations.

Learn more about NAVC Gives and submit nominations here.

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