Community

Local couple recognized for volunteerism with animals

Calista and George Hospodarsky are dedicated to caring for animals

George and Calista Hospodarsky of Iowa City play with some of the 9 foster kittens the are currently housing in their home in Iowa City on Thursday, July 7, 2016. The couple received a Governor’s Volunteer Award for their volunteer efforts at the Iowa City Animal Care and Adoption Center in June. They dedicated rooms for foster animals in their home in which they've hosted more than 400 animals over the years. (Adam Wesley/The Gazette)
George and Calista Hospodarsky of Iowa City play with some of the 9 foster kittens the are currently housing in their home in Iowa City on Thursday, July 7, 2016. The couple received a Governor’s Volunteer Award for their volunteer efforts at the Iowa City Animal Care and Adoption Center in June. They dedicated rooms for foster animals in their home in which they've hosted more than 400 animals over the years. (Adam Wesley/The Gazette)
/

Calista and George Hospodarsky were vacationing in Europe when they heard about the Floods of 2008.

Among the places the couple learned had flooded was the Iowa City Animal Care & Adoption Center, where they were volunteers. The couple went to cafes in Rome so they could check their email and stay updated on the situation.

After a full day of travel back to Iowa, the couple didn’t head home from the airport. Instead, they went to the shelter to help with animals in need of emergency homes.

“We drove from the airport to the fairgrounds,” George said. “We helped out for one or two hours before we went home and went to sleep.”

After more than a decade of committed service at the animal shelter, the couple in June received the Governor’s Volunteer Award during a ceremony in Cedar Rapids.

“It was a great honor to be associated with all these people who are trying to make a difference in the world,” George said.

The couple not only volunteers at the shelter, but also fosters pets in their home, to prepare them for adoption.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

“They’ve been with us a long time, through thick and thin,” said Liz Ford, Animal Services Supervisor at the animal shelter.

The couple has taken more than 400 animals under their roof over the years, Ford said.

The Hospodarskys have a special room to house and care for the various foster animals. Ford said this care helps the animals become healthy, playful and nice.

“I feel like I make a difference in the animals’ lives,” Calista said — and she encourages others to give it a go. “I think people who are curious should just try out fostering. It is not a lifetime commitment, you can start with one fostering placement and see what you want to do from there.”

Calista is a special education paraprofessional at Hoover Elementary in West Branch and is able to volunteer more during the summer. She helps track donations and gets the animals ready for adoptions or foster care.

George is an associate research scientist in physics and astronomy at the University of Iowa. Both are passionate about helping the center in their spare time.

While animals might not be everyone’s passions, Calista said there are plenty of other service opportunities for people to put their time and talent toward.

“I encourage people to volunteer at whatever capacity they can,” she said.

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.

CONTINUE READING

MORE Community ARTICLES TO READ NEXT ...

  IOWA CITY - Math, science and even literacy can all be taught by the back of a seed packet. Scott Koepke, education director for Grow: Johnson County, uses that philosophy when teaching kids and adults alike soil science and g ...

For most of my generation growing up in Cedar Rapids in the 1950s and '60s, the sprawling stone house on Linden Drive SE was Dr. Stark's home, but the history of the house goes back much further. The house was built by contractor ...

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.