July 19, 2005 — For the first time since the award's inception, a Virgin Islander has been singled out to be a Daily Point of Light.
Joseph S. Aubain, president of the Humane Society of St. Thomas, is the Daily Point of Light for July 20.
Aubain, who has led the charge to build a new animal care campus on St. Thomas and to get the territory's first anti-animal-cruelty bill passed, will be highlighted on the national awards page of the Points of Light Foundation at www.pointsoflight.org/awards/dpol. The piece will remain on the Web site indefinitely.
Richard Dollison, who said he and Aubain came onto the board at the same time five years ago, was effusive about the impact Aubain has had on the Humane Society and the community in general.
"Membership increased 10-fold since Joe became president," Dollison said.
But Dollison said Aubain has done far more than that, forging relationships with domestic violence agencies, reaching out to others in the community and making the connection between animal abuse and violence against human beings.
"Before Joe was president, all those things were beyond our potential to even dream of," Dollison said.
"When Joe became president, it was like the Humane Society got a whole new lease on life," said Anna Clarke, who served as Humane Society president prior to Hurricane Marilyn. "Joe is probably one of the nicest people I've ever met on this island. He is somebody who really cares."
Amalie Parrott, who has worked with Aubain on the Humane Society Board, said, "What a fitting award to bestow upon Joe, a point of light and hope in the lives of so many." She added, "Joe big-heartedly gives so much of his time to better our community."
Joe Elmore, executive director of the Humane Society, said in a release earlier this week that this is the first time the award has been given to someone outside the 50 states. "It brings much deserved attention not only to Joe Aubain, but to the Virgin Islands and animal welfare," Elmore said. "As president of the Board of Directors of the Humane Society, Joe Aubain has significantly affected the lives of thousands of animals and countless children and adults."
Given each weekday, the Daily Points of Light Award honors an individual or organization that is making a positive and lasting difference in the lives of others. Originally started during the administration of former President George H.W. Bush, the program was reinstated Jan. 1, 1998, by the Points of Light Foundation, the Corporation for National and Community Service and the Knights of Columbus. Bush and former President Bill Clinton jointly chose the first two recipients. President George W. Bush and the first President Bush will each send Aubain a congratulatory letter.
Aubain, who has served as the executive director of the St. Thomas St. John Chamber of Commerce for 14 years, said Tuesday afternoon, "I am honored, but I work for the Humane Society because I enjoy it. It's just what I do."
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