Anderson is one of five in the nation to receive this award in 2022, earning a $10,000 Petco grant for the animal welfare organization of his choice. Animal lovers can vote for Anderson to be the No. 1 National Unsung Hero, which would earn the KCHA a $25,000 grant.
Anderson has been a hero for both animals and his country — he is an army veteran who served 15 years on overseas deployments. Those who know Anderson describe him as generous, humble and big-hearted. As a humane officer, he’s dedicated his life to helping Kanawha County animals for almost 10 years. Petco Love said Anderson possesses “the remarkable ability to help — whether people or animals — with patience, compassion, and love.”
“When I pick up an animal or help an animal, it makes me feel good because I know I’m giving them help. … Animals, they got feelings, they got life. You know what I mean? They understand.”Jerry Anderson, 2022 Petco Unsung Hero & KCHA animal control officer
KCHA Executive Director Bethany Hively said Anderson was employed at the shelter in 2012, and he is the only employee still there since the association ended unnecessary euthanasia in 2013. Chelsea Staley, former KCHA Executive Director, said Anderson has the ability to connect and resonate with people, gaining their trust and making them feel understood rather than judged. Over the years, Anderson has donated pet food to community members who need assistance.
“Jerry always hooks me up with dog food and everything, always has,” one community member said. “So my animals don’t starve though ’cause Jerry helps me.”
Since 2018, Petco Love has honored Unsung Heroes who have dedicated their time to helping animals and had a lifesaving impact. Susanna Kogut, president of Petco Love, said after the organization heard Anderson’s story, they wanted to honor his lifesaving efforts.
“Celebrating extraordinary people like Jerry who went above and beyond to save animal lives despite difficult circumstances, and telling their stories, is our way of saying thank you, and hopefully these stories will inspire others to become heroes for pets, too,” said Kogut.
Victoria Stilwell, well-known dog trainer and founder of Positively, traveled across the U.S. with Petco Love to record an online video series about Petco Love’s Unsung Heroes.
“Jerry’s story is heartening,” said Stilwell. “It is a tremendous honor to have recorded his dedication to saving animal lives. Seeing the incredible work being done by these extraordinary people in their communities firsthand is inspiring and I’m so excited for a wider audience to witness their amazing work via the Unsung Heroes video series.”
Voting will end at 12 p.m. on Monday, April 18.