April Gessner Deddens — Veterinarian
Dr April Gessner Deddens is passionate about veterinary volunteer work both internationally and locally. She has volunteered in several impoverished countries in Central America, the Caribbean, South America, and Asia. She was the campus coordinator for VIDA in Central America and was fortunate enough to volunteer in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Guatemala during veterinary school. She then founded Ross VIDA on the island of St Kitts while still in veterinary school so that students could gain hands-on experience while also helping the less fortunate with their pets. The organization is still providing free veterinary care to pets of the island ten years later. Dr Gessner Deddens is currently a member of World Vets and has volunteered in Paraguay, Cambodia, Nepal, and Laos providing free veterinary care and high volume spay neuter clinics in some of the most poverty-stricken villages in the world. She was also awarded the Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award from Ross University for her international volunteer work. Most recently, she started a 501c3 nonprofit in her home of North Carolina called DEGA Mobile Veterinary Care (Determined for Everyone to Gain Access to Veterinary Care). She provides free basic veterinary care to low/no income and homeless pet owners whose pets would otherwise not see a veterinarian. By working with other charitable organizations, she is able to identify those most in need of free basic veterinary care which helps prevent disease and therefore decreases the number of pets surrendered to shelters. Her nonprofit has helped almost 600 pets in not quite four months!