Scholarsip presentation

At the scholarsip presentation are (front row, from left) Steve Smith, Hilary Wyatt, Amanda Neeley, Ruth Ann Ott and Ed Ott; (second row) Paulette Dean.

Special to the Register & Bee

The Danville Area Humane Society presented a second scholarship last week.

This marks the the first scholarship from the Barbara S. Smith Scholarship for Animal Welfare Studies and was presented to Amanda Neeley, the daughter of Ed and Ruth Ann Ott.

This scholarship fund was established by Hilary Wyatt, the daughter of Barbara S. Smith, in her mother’s memory. Wyatt and her stepfather, Steve Smith, presented the check, along with Danville Area Humane Society Executive Director Paulette Dean.

Smith was born in Roanoke and raised in Portsmouth. She moved to Danville to study at Danville Technical Institute. After graduating from there, she went to work at Corning Glass Works where she worked until her retirement after 41 years. Smith was a member of the Danville Charter Chapter of American Business Women’s Association. During her time with the the group, she supported their scholarship funds for women pursuing a higher education.

Wyatt was employed by the Danville Area Humane Society as the shelter manager and currently serves as on the board of directors. Smith and her husband allowed the shelter to have several successful yard sales at their house and they were among the best customers. They supported all of the work of humane society and even became a foster home for a special little kitten named Edgar.

During an emotional presentation, Wyatt and Smith told the recipient that they were very pleased to honor Smith’s memory in this way. “Barbara was a strong supporter of women who worked with strength to meet their goals,” Smith said. “She would be pleased to know that Amanda received a scholarship in her memory.”

Neeley is a 2019 graduate of Galileo Magnet High School, graduating with a 4.2 GPA, earning an advanced diploma. She also graduated from four years of early morning seminary, a scripture study class for high school students who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Neeley volunteers at the Danville shelter and helps with fundraising activities. In addition, she has also helped with dog training classes in the community.

Neeley’s parents, Ed and Ruth Ann Ott, said they are proud of her and are grateful for those who have supported her in reaching for her goals. They said they are in awe of their daughter.

Neeley will begin her studies in wildlife and environment studies at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks.

“I plan to pursue a major in wildlife biology with a minor in animal behavior,” Neeley said. “My dream is to work with animals in the home and in their natural habitat. As a young kid, I do not have much experience in paving my own way and making a difference, but it all starts with trying. I know that if I can make a difference in a couple lives, some animals might be saved. I know that if I continue this path in college and defend the environment and the animals around me, I can make a difference.”

“The Danville Area Humane Society is thrilled with our two scholarship funds,” Dean said. “The Barbara S. Smith Scholarship for Animal Welfare Studies will award $500 to a Danville resident every year and the Margot Richter Mayhew Scholarship for Professional Studies will award $500 to a Pittsylvania County resident every year. Donations made be made via PayPal or mailing a check to P.O. Box 3352, Danville, VA 24543.”