MERCER CO., Pa. (WYTV) – This week’s Hometown Hero is an avid animal advocate who spends hundreds of hours volunteering at the Mercer County Humane Society. The Hickory junior also finds time to volunteer and cook meals for local police, fire and EMS personnel.
Connor Ivan’s love is giving back to the community in any way he can.
“There’s a big need for it. Most of these dogs are not well kept but you do also have some owners who love their dogs,” he said.
Connor is one of them. His love of animals led him to the Mercer County Humane Society, where he’s volunteered for the last five years. He actively helps in several animal rescues and removals.
“For animals that aren’t fit to be in houses,” he said.
That includes the rescue of 47 dogs from a home on Grange Road in Shenango Township back in 2019.
“First, we go in and see what the house is like and all the stuff in it and then we go from there to see if we need to remove the dogs or let the owners have the dogs and give them a warning,” Connor said.
His main concern is always about the animals, as well as getting help for the owners. Connor says it can be a heartbreaking process.
“But at the end of the day, we get the dog,” he said.
“I’m obviously incredibly proud. He’s been doing this with us for about five years since he was 12. When he was 12, he would just help clean kennels and interact with dogs and now he actually gets angry if I go out on calls and it’s during school hours or he’s at work. He always asks, ‘Can’t you just wait until I’m done? I want to come,'” said Courtney Ivan, Connor’s mom.
Connor is also dedicated to public safety, volunteering and even cooking meals for safety personnel throughout the county.
“There’s so many other things that he could be doing or, you know, out hanging out with his friends which he does do, but he would rather be helping, whether it’s with the EMA or the Humane Society. There’s not many 17-year-old kids out there that actually get upset because you’re going to go run a humane call without them. So, I’m pretty honored to be his mom,” Courtney said.
When it comes to being this week’s Hometown Hero, Connor kept it short and sweet.
“It’s surprising that I was chosen, but I’m glad,” he said.