Carol Olson poses with Scarborough Terrace Marketing Director Elizabeth Simonds, Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland’s Volunteer Coordinator Shannon Cote and Scarborough Terrace Executive Director Judy Cox after being honored with Scarborough Terrace’s annual senior service award. Courtesy / The Point Group

SCARBOROUGH — A lifelong animal lover from South Portland has been chosen by Scarborough Terrace Assisted Living’s annual Senior Service Award for her dedication to animals in need.

On Dec. 10, Carol Olson was presented with the award for her years of volunteering at the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland on Landing Road in Westbrook.

Scarborough Terrace has been giving out the award – which comes with a $500 check for the volunteer and $500 for the organization – since 2012, to honor and recognize seniors working to make their communities and the area a better place.

“Individuals like Carol Olson are inspiring reminders of what it means to live selflessly and make a difference in the lives of others,” Scarborough Terrace Executive Director Judy Cox said.

Previous award winners have included representatives of Scarborough-based organizations Project G.R.A.C.E., Pine Point Ladies Auxiliary, Scarborough Community Services, Scarborough Public Library, Meals on Wheels, Volunteers in Police Service and the Scarborough Food Pantry.

“The best part of this is letting the organizations choose the volunteer (to honor) themselves. It comes as a wonderful surprise,” said Elizabeth Simonds, marketing director for Scarborough Terrace. “Choosing which organization gets selected is one of the best parts of my job.”

Simonds said although the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland is not in Scarborough, the organization was a natural choice to honor. ARLGP, she said, has been bringing pets in to visit with residents at Scarborough Terrace for at least a dozen years and contracts with the town for its animal needs.

Olson was shocked to be chosen.

“When I heard ARLGP chose me out of 400 volunteers to receive this recognition, I was very surprised,” Olson said. “I’ve always loved animals, and when I was a little girl my grandfather used to take me to ARLGP to visit the dogs and cats. When the time came and I was able to volunteer, ARLGP was my only and best choice.”

Over the course of nearly six years, Olson has volunteered more than 160 hours of service to the organization, primarily with the ARLGP’s smaller animals. Olson has also adopted and fostered some of the animals as well.

“She has always been a super positive and really reliable,” said Shannon Cote, ARLGP’s volunteer coordinator. “She clearly loves what she does. She is one of our small animal volunteers, but she had also helped out with events and serves as a mentor to new volunteers. We value all of our volunteers, but this is one that really stands out.”

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