GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - Meet a woman who is about to start offering free boarding for dogs and cats of military families, or anyone who faces losing their pet, so she can keep them together.
But it's what Helene Hicks has already done that inspired three letters nominating her as a South Mississippi Hero.
Delores Lee wrote to WLOX, "With her own time and money, she's brought more than 300 animals to the Humane Society in Gulfport to get spayed and neutered. She's providing a service to Jackson County that is greatly and so desperately needed."
Deborah Seelig knows what happens to about five million dogs and cats each year in our nation. They are put to death, thrown out with the trash or incinerated.
"It's so sad, it's heart wrenching," Seelig said. "I think it's very insensitive on the part of people you know to not realize these animals have feelings and they have emotions and they're able to give love and affection just like a person does."
That's why her hero, animal lover Helene Hicks, decided to do something about the over population problem. She created the affordable, non-profit, Jackson County Spay and Neuter Program.
"What I do is, if it's a senior citizen or disabled, I'll go pick them up. It's a one stop shop. I go over there, I pick up their animals. I take them, get them done and keep them overnight again," Hicks said.
And she does it all on her own time at her own expense. Hicks is doing whatever she can to prevent the suffering and death of unwanted animals. In the process, she's saving taxpayers a lot of money by taking some of the burden off city and county-run shelters.
"I think it's an outstanding program. There's no other program out there that's like it. She's very dedicated and devoted," Seelig said.
Hicks is also very passionate.
"What really gets my blood boiling is people who come up to me and say, 'I won't get my animal fixed. I want to breed them.' I get a lot of grief over it. Sometimes people say I'm stepping on their toes or whatever. But I feel the program's working and I just really need to help," Hicks said.
Helene Hicks was recently given the Caring Women Award by Lifetime Television for her innovative program and hard work. She puts her money where her mouth is, spreading the word that no one should breed or buy, while shelter animals die.
"We don't need them. We don't need kittens, we don't need puppies. They need to take care of what we've got right now, that's the bottom line," Hicks said.
Visit her MySpace page at www.myspace.com/spayingforjacksoncounty.