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Woman's love for animals has inspired years of giving

Woman's love for animals has inspired years of giving

She went to the Wildlife Sanctuary to help clean the birds after the oil spill, but she ended up being snagged by a love for the animals.

For almost a decade now, Carol Stearns is still doing the work of the Angels In Our Midst.

She meticulously slices and dices the fruits, vegetables, and meats as if she were preparing them for a child. In fact, the animals at the Wildlife Sanctuary are like her babies.

“I love it. I especially like making the food for the turtles because the turtles are one of my favorite to work with,” Carol said

Carol came to volunteer here one day a week nine years ago. When she retired after 23 years with the Pensacola Police Department. Let's just say she's here a lot.

“I'm just an animal person. I don't have any kids. I'm an only child. I enjoy the different seasons because we get baby birds certain times and other times of the year we get other animals. So, it's always kind of a variety when you come down here,” she said.

There are a wide variety of jobs that need to be done here. Carol just about does them all. She's very unassuming as she goes about her days. If you ask her what she does, she might humbly mention a couple things, but it's Sanctuary Director Dorothy Kaufmann who steps in to paint the real picture.

“What do you not do? You do animal care, you do special events, you help the other volunteers, you do fundraising, you do all of the outreach events that we do. And anything we need, we call you. And she's a foster parent, she takes home the babies,” said Dorothy.

She cleans cages, washes dishes, folds towels, separates newspapers, answers phones. If it needs to be done, Carol will do it. And if you come for a visit, she introduces you to her wildlife family.

Carol introduced us to two bald eagles, Winnie and Apollo.

Winnie and Apollo are expecting by the way. When she isn't on the grounds, Dorothy says Carol is on the phone, checking in.

“She says, ‘What's in the refrigerator? What do we need? I'll go by the store.’ She goes by the store, she picks it up, she brings it in,” Dorothy said.

Every volunteer is at the Sanctuary is treasured. Carol Stearns is one of their pieces of gold.

“One, she's fun. Two, she's smart. And, three, she's just so dedicated. She's the whole package,” Dorothy said.

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