Longtime North Beach PAWS leader steps down after decades of service

Valdez helped found and shape the shelter

Lorna Valdez, co-founder of North Beach PAWS and long-serving president, signaled she was stepping back from the leadership of the decades-old shelter she shaped to what it is today in a board meeting last week, as Carol Jamroz moved into the big seat.

Jamroz has worked closely with Valdez for years, she said in an interview, and will labor diligently to carry Valdez’s vision forward as the shelter looks to fund and build a new, modern home for its canine guests.

“It’s time in my life to move on the next chapter. I’m thrilled to have been involved in North Beach PAWS since 2002,” Valdez said. “It’s been a calling for both my husband and I.”

Jamroz is moving up from the vice president slot with Valdez’s benediction, effective immediately.

Lorna Valdez
Lorna Valdez poses with her dog, Lulu.

Lorna Valdez Lorna Valdez poses with her dog, Lulu.

“Carol has been a tremendous help for the last seven years,” Valdez said. “I have a tremendous amount of confidence in her. She’s a proven leader.”

The transition will not see any interruption in service as the non-profit continues to do its best for the animal population of the area, Jamroz said. Last year, the shelter helped more than 1,600 cats and dogs, a record number, and a far cry from the shelter’s origins fostering cats in garages, Jamroz said.

“It’s seamless. We continue our mission,” Jamroz said. “We continue to fundraise to support the ever-increasing number of cats and dogs that need our help.”

The story of the shelter organization has been one of measured, incremental growth since its founding in 2002, Valdez said.

“We decided to pursue the idea to find a property or a building to start a shelter out here. It just came together. There was tremendous support from the community,” Valdez said. “I’m still in awe of what we’ve been able to accomplish. We’ve been able to save so many animals.”

Nationwide, shelters are shuddering under the strain as the need grows ever higher, Jamroz said.

New president of North Beach PAWS Carol Jamroz poses with rescue cat Morag. (Carol Jamroz)

New president of North Beach PAWS Carol Jamroz poses with rescue cat Morag. (Carol Jamroz)

“People need help,” Jamroz said. “They need help with spay neuter services, they need help with vaccination services, keeping their animals healthy, they need help with food assistance.”

Balancing daily operations with the dog shelter’s expansion is the main effort for North Beach PAWS right now, Jamroz said.

“It’s building all those relationships up and continuing to grow the organization,” Jamroz said. “Because we live on funds, fundraising is always on top of mind.”

Valdez said she’ll still help out with the shelter, albeit in a less central role, as she takes more time to enjoy spending time with her grandchildren and on her hobbies.

“It’s important to the board to have the benefit of her wisdom,” Jamroz said. “Lorna built that foundation and it is solid.”

Contact Senior Reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757-621-1197 or mlockett@thedailyworld.com.