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Johnny Birkitt Hero Award

Awarded to Michael Hughes at the 16th Annual Dog Jog and 5K Run

Homeless animals have a heroic friend in Michael Hughes, who is the Leader of the Pack at Holiday Barn Pet Resorts and the 2018 recipient of the Johnny Birkitt Hero Award.

It was five years ago that Michael and Holiday Barn Pet Resorts stepped into the role of title sponsor of the Richmond SPCA’s annual Dog Jog and 5K Run, but Michael’s unwavering support of the Richmond SPCA goes much farther back. Since 2002 Michael has served on this organization’s Board of Directors, as his father Emerson does as well, and Michael’s leadership has always been thoughtful and strategic. Whether he is providing astute guidance or stepping in to directly solve a problem, such as the times that he has opened the kennels at Holiday Barn to house homeless animals—guaranteeing there would be no interruption in lifesaving—when our own kennels were being renovated, Michael is always there for homeless animals. From delivering hundreds of pounds of kibble to ensure every bowl at the Richmond SPCA will be filled to serving on the planning committee of the Dog Jog to ensure we fill every sponsorship and vendor space, he can always be counted on.

Michael is a leader and an inspiration and we are delighted to recognize him with this year’s Johnny Birkitt Hero Award.

The Johnny Birkitt Hero Award was established in 2007 to be given each year in memory of Johnny Birkitt, a remarkable and beloved young man who passed away that year and whose parents, family and friends chose to honor his memory by forming a team to participate in our Dog Jog. Johnny was a great animal lover, and the meaningful tribute of those who knew him has continued at each Dog Jog and 5K Run as a celebration of his life, and has continued to keep his memory alive. The award that bears Johnny's name is given each year to the person or team that has displayed the greatest spirit for the cause of homeless animals.

Past Recipients of the Johnny Birkitt Hero Award

2017  Dana Taylor
2016  Sarah Flynn Robb
2015  Kat Simons 
2014  Janice Akers 
2013  Rich Terrell 
2012  Sarah Sinsabaugh 
2011  John Birkitt, Sr. 
2010  Team Bank of America 
2009  Austin Story 
2008  Team Running Buddies™ 
2007  Team Johnny Birkitt 

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