Congratulations to Dr. Kelly Willard – our General Practitioner of the Year! She and over four hundred others in various veterinary fields across the US were nominated by their peers for providing outstanding medical care and being a hero in the world of veterinary medicine. Dr. Willard was unanimously nominated by the dvm360® advisory board judges to receive this award. Eight veterinary professionals were recognized in the following categories:
Client Service Representative—Susie Martin
Dermatology—Maria Ierace, DVM, DACVD
Emergency Medicine—Charity J. Uman, MS, DVM
General Practitioner—CPT Kelly Willard, DVM
Integrative Medicine—Curtis Wells Dewey, DVM, MS, DACVIM (Neurology), DACVS, CTCVMP, CCRP
Internal Medicine—Caeley J. Melmed, DVM, DACVIM (SAIM)
Surgery—Daniel Stobie, DVM, MS, DACVS
Technician Medicine—Inger Reres, LVT, VTS (SAIM)
The awards celebration gala took place at the San Diego Convention Center in California on December 1st on the eve of the Fetch dvm360® San Diego veterinary conference. Sponsors included Nationwide, Merck, Zoetis, Clevor®, Blue Buffalo, NorthStar VETS, and MedVet.
Three of our staff members – Karrie, Karen, and Christina – were able to travel to San Diego to attend the awards dinner and surprise Dr. Willard. Everyone enjoyed meeting Walter Brown, RVTg, VTS, ECC AKA “Skinni go live”, a veterinary technician comedian and personality who we have enjoyed following online for years.
Adam Christman, DVM, MBA, chief veterinary officer for Fetch, the Atlantic Coast Veterinary Conference® (ACVC) and dvm360® introduced Dr. Willard with the following words:
“It is with great privilege and honor that I represent Nationwide supporting this year’s category in veterinary heroes – general practitioner. This year’s hero hails from Hudson Veterinary Hospital in Hudson, Ohio. Our hero is known for serving her staff and clients with positivity, thoroughness and compassion. She is a Captain in the US Army Reserve veterinary corps where she joined eight years ago to help service members and military working dogs. When her army unit was deployed to Afghanistan, she was eager to make a difference. She treated military working dogs, including special operations dogs, and she also started a blood bank program for the MWD’s – Military Working Dogs. She currently partners with the nonprofit organization Paws of Honor to provide veterinary care for retired law enforcement dogs and the military working dogs. The nominator has said ‘she still somehow finds time to qualify for and run in the Boston Marathon every year including 2013 during the bombing. She is compassionate and caring, brilliant and amazing and always finds time to answer questions from clients and staff. No matter how rough our day is going, she is always positive, uplifting and a true inspiration. She is not only a veterinary hero, she is America’s hero.’ We are proud to announce the 2021 Veterinary Hero General Practitioner Award to Captain Kelly Willard.”
Dr. Willard accepted her award and thanked her husband and staff.
“I’m truly honored. I feel like since my staff surprised me and showed up today that I need to now dedicate this award to them. My husband Ryan who’s the practice manager travelled with me and kept it a secret the whole time that three of our amazing team members were able to make it here. Honestly, I came home from deployment and impulsively bought a vet hospital, and I didn’t realize the “dysfunctional” family that I would inherit. [Laughter] But I wouldn’t be here without them. Thank you very much!”
We are so proud of you Dr. Willard! Congratulations!