CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — Doctor Sarah Stephenson is a veterinarian at the Good Shepherd Veterinary Hospital in Charleston, a career path she decided on, in the 3rd grade.
“I always loved animals, when I was a child I thought I wanted to study penguins and live in Antarctica, but then I realize that’d be pretty isolated and freezing cold,” said Dr. Stephenson with a chuckle, behind her COVID-19 mask.
When West Virginia, and much of the country, shut down due to the pandemic, Dr. Stephenson managed to keep her doors open, offering lifesaving treatments, pet owners otherwise couldn’t access. “We are an E.R, we’re a day surgery center. We’re all those things, all day long, and so we really didn’t feel that closing was any part of an option.”
After opening the practice in 2002, the hospital has grown to employ 25 people. “We just come in, just like you go home to your family, we come in we jump in, including Doctor Stephenson,” said office manager Rhonda Wileman. She says working alongside Dr. Stephenson, doesn’t seem like work at all. In fact, from the employees to the clients, everyone is treated like family. “She absolutely loves her clients, she’s like family to them. “She’s just amazing in general.”
Those who know Dr. Stephenson best say it’s her generosity that sets her apart from others. When she’s not saving animals, she’s spending time with her large family. All six of her children are adopted from China.
Two of her daughters play with the West Virginia Symphony, opening the door for Dr. Stephenson to be on the board for the orchestra, one of many philanthropic ventures she’s part of. “I was asked to be on their board about a year ago and was flattered to be a part of that.”
She’s also on the board for Agape Adoptions in Tacoma Washington where four of the six children were adopted through. “I’m also on the board for the West Virginia Children’s Home Society, an organization providing services to children and families.
Perhaps no one has witnessed Doctor Stephenson’s compassion towards others, more than her husband, John Skaff.
“She is what makes her family tick.” Skaff nominated his wife, hoping to give her the recognition he says she deserves. “She’s very in touch with everything else, but herself sometimes… like a plumber.” Skaff said with a laugh. “They take care of their pipes last!”
“The minute she either walks through the door, or the weekend is upon us, she turns it off and it’s all about the kids.” “She gives them undivided attention in their events.” said Skaff. “We’re fortunate that they’re self-sufficient in their schoolwork, but she’s always there for them.”
At the end of the day, Dr. Stephenson’s focus has always been putting others, before herself. “She’s created this family unit, she’s created her hobbies, now her profession, her passion and you put it all together …it doesn’t get any more remarkable than that.” “I just don’t know what the next chapter is going to be for us, but I’m sure it’s going to be remarkable!’
Despite being nominated as one of our Remarkable Women, Dr. Stephenson insists on redirecting the spotlight. “We’re really kind of our own team with the support of everyone here and it’s not at all about me, it has nothing to do with me.”