Meet the 2014 American Hero Veterinarian and American Hero Veterinary Technician Winners
American Hero Veterinarian Category
WINNER: Eva DeCozio, DVM (VCA Apache Junction, Higley, AZ) – Dr. Eva DeCozio is the definition of an outstanding veterinarian. Her incredible intelligence and work ethic make her a consummate professional, but her compassion and dedication to animals make her a hero. Dr. DeCozio works at a clinic at the edge of a low income neighborhood. Many of her clients arrive with seriously ill pets but have little funds to pay for their care. When others turn these clients away for their inability to pay, Dr. DeCozio does not; she gives 100 percent of her gifts as a practitioner and healer to provide the animals the best quality of care possible.
Her huge heart and dedication to helping those in need doesn’t stop there. Dr. DeCozio is the co-founder of Panacea Animal Wellness Sanctuary (PAWS), a non-profit animal welfare organization that “exists to create a community in which there is no unnecessary animal euthanasia.” Every week, she saves animals from the euthanasia lists at several county shelters. Some are about to be put down for easily treated illnesses like kennel cough, while others need complex surgeries because of abuse or neglect. Dr. DeCozio rescues these animals and uses her exemplary veterinary skills to treat the animals’ conditions, no matter how complex. Those animals then go on to foster homes until they are fully well and eventually get adopted into forever homes. Because of her efforts, more than 800 animals have been given a second chance at life. Dr. DeCozio is dogged in her mission to grow PAWS and save thousands more animals.
American Hero Veterinary Technician Category
WINNER: Signe Corbin (Westlake Animal Hospital, Austin, TX) – For the past 24 years, Signe Corbin has exemplified what it means to be a Hero Veterinary Technician. In addition to providing exemplary care for the patients of Westlake Animal Hospital, she co-founded Pug Rescue of Austin (PRA) in 2009 and continues to serve as the medical director of this thriving nonprofit organization. Signe is the backbone of PRA, ensuring that more than 600 dogs that have been rescued receive the best medical care available. Signe offers her wisdom and expertise every step of the way during the treatment and recovery process, answering phone calls and text messages at all hours of the night. In the event of a medical emergency, she drops everything to meet the foster parents at the emergency clinic to provide guidance and comfort during what can be an extremely stressful experience.
What is all the more remarkable about Signe’s dedication is that she never forgets her fellow vet techs and veterinarians, often bringing in goodies for the staff at the emergency clinic to express her appreciation. Signe’s talents are not limited to the medical field. She is an avid promoter of PRA’s mission and documents the recovery of the most severe neglect cases via social media. She is revered for posting beautiful “glamour” shots of adoptable dogs throughout their journey of recovery. Signe also hosts an annual “Pug Tune-up” fundraising event, during which she and her fellow vet techs provide nail trims and ear cleanings to generate thousands of dollars in donations for PRA.