Volunteers of the Month single view | PAWS Chicago

Ken Gasper

What originally drew you to PAWS Chicago? 

I adopted my puppy Lyla G in January 2007 from the Rescue & Recover Center.  I was searching for a rescue pup and a friend told me to check out PAWS Chicago. I got such a positive vibe from the people who were at PAWS.  The Adoption Counselors and every person I met were so friendly and made the process super easy.


How long have you been a volunteer? 

In 2008, once I learned there was a marathon team – TEAM PAWS – I signed up right away.  It combined two of my favorite things and is the best way I know of how to give back.  


Do you have a primary focus when you volunteer?
My primary focus is TEAM PAWS.  I am grateful to be a shepherd helping those new to the team.  I also help organize fundraising events and some evening fun runs.

Is there a favorite experience that has stood out during your time as a volunteer?
My fondest memory was trying out a new type of fundraiser – PAWScasso where you and your dog paint a masterpiece together. Our team captain and 4-5 teammates who I’d never met before gave up their Saturday to help. We ended up raising lots of money for PAWS, having a ton of fun and becoming friends in the process. 

How does what do you do for a career apply to what you do as a volunteer?

I do design and construction project management for family-owned commercial real estate developer, Joseph Freed. My company has been extremely supportive, both as a company and as individuals.  They even made a ‘congrats’ card for the marathon for me last year  The best part of my job is seeing the public experience a new building environment for the first time.  The best part of being on TEAM PAWS is that over the course of 18 weeks, I meet new teammates, make many friends and get the opportunity to see the look of joy and celebration on their faces on marathon day at the PAWS tent.


Why do you volunteer for PAWS Chicago? 

I volunteer to give back to a wonderful organization.  I enjoy making new friends who share so much more in common, and hearing their PAWS story.


Do you have any pets at home?

Lyla G. I adopted her in 2007 and sheis a PAWS alumnus.

Have you participated in any PAWS Chicago special events that support animals?

I’ve been on TEAM PAWS since 2008 and have run more than 10 Marathons in the PAWS singlet.  We had a blast at the Fur Ball with our puppies and a hosted a PAWScasso fundraiser at the Run for Their Lives.  I also love hitting the pet friendly happy hours and as many TEAM PAWS events as possible.


What value has volunteering at PAWS Chicago brought you? 

TEAM PAWS has brought me new friends and everlasting memories. Although I can’t spend much time at the Adoption Center, fundraising keeps me connected to PAWS and it is always a joy seeing the amazing work going on at the shelter.