After a lifetime of serving the people and animals of Avery County, Rachel Deal passed away on June 14. She was 92 years old and still an active member of the Board of Directors of the Avery Humane Society. Her life and legacy of love, care, kindness and tenacity inspire all who were fortunate to know her.
“Serving with the Humane Society has meant the world to me. I put my strength into the love I have for the animals, the love for all of God’s creatures. As long as I have any breath in me at all, I am going to be a volunteer for the shelter. I don’t have much money, but I have time. And it has been time well spent.”Rachel Deal
Rachel’s desire to care for animals in Avery County began in her own living room more than 40 years ago. She brought home and cared for dozens of dogs and cats while she worked tirelessly to find forever families for them. It could be said that Rachel was the first “unofficial” Humane Society in the county. Understanding the urgent need, she helped start the Avery Humane Society in 1978. Joining with a team of passionate community members she worked “doggedly” to raise funds by hosting bake sales and even going door to door. Whoever knew Rachel understood that she was fearless when advocating for vulnerable animals. These efforts led to the opening of original animal shelter built on Stamey Branch Road.
When it came time for a new shelter, she worked closely with community leaders and philanthropists to see today’s shelter in Newland become a reality. Newland would not have its vibrant non-profit Avery Humane Society if not for its great ambassador, Rachel Deal. She continued to serve on the Board of Directors for over forty years.
The Board of Directors are planning a special tribute to Rachel on August 20, 2022, from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm at the place that was dearest to her heart, the Avery Humane Society shelter.
Two things that people think about when they think about Rachel are bake sales and stray animals. These will be front and center on August 20 as there will be a bake sale and a live auction at 1:00 pm of selected baked goods provided by well-known chefs of Avery County.
Stonewalls Restaurant ‘s famous “What the Cluck” food truck will also be on the premises with their wonderful food.
In honoring Rachel, Avery Humane Society wants to continue her legacy of helping stray animals across Avery County. Rachel was a huge advocate for trying to bring Animal Control Services to the County, and the Board of Directors are saddened that this did not happen in her lifetime. But she did help establish and sustain Avery Humane Society in its role at the center of caring for stray animals in the community, taking in thousands of strays over the years and providing them with the shelter, love and medical care they needed before finding them forever homes. A large part of the shelter’s budget is spent on this every year, and Avery Humane Society relies solely on private support to provide this care.
In Rachel’s Memory, Avery Humane Society has created The Rachel Deal Fund for the Care of Stray Animals in Avery County.
All gifts to this fund will be used for food, shelter, medical care and support for the hundreds of stray animals brought to the shelter each year. All proceeds from the tribute on August 20 will go to this fund.
A gift can be made to this fund by “clicking here” or by sending a check to 279 New Vale Road, Newland, NC 28657. Donations to this fund can also be made in person at the Avery Humane Society.
Thank you, Rachel, for your years of service to the animals of Avery County! You will be missed by so many.
Courtesy of Avery Humane Society.