Shelter open house honors the late Virginia and Delbert Stevens, Roger Bernard, and the dedicated team that keeps the place humming every day

WNLP story and photos by Mike Kellems (scroll down for photos)

Saturday afternoon’s beautiful weather provided the perfect backdrop for the LaPorte County Small Animal Shelter’s fifth anniversary celebration of its animal clinic. Shortly after LaPorte residents Delbert and Virginia Stevens passed away, shelter staffers learned the couple had made an incredibly generous and last gift of more than $1 million to the shelter. That donation led to the Stevens Treatment Center, which, over the course of the past five years, has provided clinical treatment to thousands of animals at the shelter.

“What we’ve been able to accomplish since the Stevens gave us the wonderful gift is nothing short of miraculous,” said Jane Bernard, the shelter’s director since 1990. “We can now help to facilitate spay and neutering of animals, which helps our community by tremendously reducing the animal population. Of course, none of this would be possible without the support and hard work of our staff and the volunteers that run the shelter every day. People tend to forget that the animals we house while waiting for adoption need care every day of the week, and that would not be possible without our great staff.”

Jane was also quick to heap praise on Veterinarian Dr. Patrick Dorroh and Veterinary Technician Michelle Hickman. “They are with us at last two days a week, which is invaluable,” Jane said.

Roger Bernard

Saturday was also a bittersweet day for Jane and the shelter staff as a gazebo was formally dedicated in honor of Jane’s late husband, Roger Bernard. Roger passed away unexpectedly on Jan. 6, 2017. Roger, who served as a United States Marine, was a 28-year veteran of the LaPorte County Police Department. Roger would often accompany Jane when she was called out after hours and was truly a “right hand man” for his wife and “boss,” she said.

The gazebo was built by Zach Petri as a project to help him earn Eagle Scout credentials. Zach’s father and Roger had been neighbors and remained friends over the years. When looking for a project, the idea of constructing a gazebo at the shelter was brought up and tackled with zeal by the high school senior. Zach was in charge of the project, all the way from raising the funds to construction. Zach cut the ribbon to officially dedicate the gazebo Saturday afternoon before a crowd of nearly 100 guests and friends.

Eagle Scout Zach Petri cuts the ribbon of the gazebo dedicated to the late Roger Bernard as Jane Bernard watches. Petri built the structure.

Petri speaks as Bernard listens during the gazebo dedication.

Shelter Director Jane Bernard speaks to the guests who attended the ceremony and open house.

The plaque honoring Roger Bernard includes Marine Corps and Sheriff’s Department emblems.

About 100 people attended the open house. Folks were able to tour the pristine facility as well as read information about pet rescue, treatment and adoption.

Jane and just a few of her crew flash proud smiles.

Dr. Patrick Dorroh shows a youngster how to measure an animal’s heart rate in the shelter’s surgery/examination area.

Kellems says, “Can’t quite put my finger on it, however something about this cat screams ‘Slicer’!”

A photo of Virginia and Delbert Stevens is displayed in the facility bearing their name.

This little cutie was a great mascot for the event!


2 Responses to “Shelter open house honors the late Virginia and Delbert Stevens, Roger Bernard, and the dedicated team that keeps the place humming every day”

  1. Becky

    May 20. 2019

    What a beautiful gazebo and dedicated to such wonderful people.

    Reply to this comment
  2. SuzQuz

    May 22. 2019

    It was a day to honor good people who have gone on, as well as to honor those who run the shelter and care for the animals. Jane Bernard and her staff are wonderful. May it always be thus.

    Reply to this comment

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