SCAV Recognizes Veterinarians, Veterinary Technicians, Clinic Staff and Humanitarian of the Year With Annual Awards

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The South Carolina Association of Veterinarians recently presented awards recognizing its Veterinarian of the Year, Distinguished Veterinarian of the Year, Licensed Veterinary Technicians, Veterinary Clinic Staff and Humanitarian of the Year.

SCAV Names Ben Phillips 2013 Veterinarian of the Year

The South Carolina Association of Veterinarians (SCAV) has named Ben Phillips, DVM, as its Veterinarian of the Year. Dr. Phillips practices at Cleveland Park Animal Hospital in Greenville, SC. SCAV recognized Dr. Phillips during its annual conference held recently in Charleston, SC.

Phillips grew up in Tennessee, and very early on his parents recognized that he was a born leader and an exceptional child! His grandparents lived on a farm in the country about 10 miles from his home. It proved to be better than any classroom for preparing him for life and his chosen profession. He learned respect for people, pets, and farm animals. He also learned that a workday started at sunrise, and that it often didn't end until the sun went down. As a small boy he was frequently seen riding his pony all over town, or even miles into the countryside to visit friends and family. His grandchildren love to hear the story about the time he decided he wanted to go see his "Uncle Mack." Uncle Mack was the county judge and his office was in the courthouse. So, he saddled his pony and rode the mile or so into town. When he got to the courthouse, there was quite a crowd of people milling around, so he decided he shouldn't leave his pony outside. He very unceremoniously rode his pony up the steps, through the entryway and down the long hall to his uncle's office, tied the reins to the doorknob, and went in for a visit. Business attended to, he got back on his pony, rode out the back door, and down the steps on the other side. He still holds the record for being the only person ever to ride a horse through the courthouse in Bedford County, Tennessee. He was 9 years old at the time. He has continued to be involved with horses to this day.

Phillips graduated from Vanderbilt University, then went home to Tennessee to teach Physics and Chemistry. While a student at Vanderbilt, he began dating the daughter of a minister in his hometown, and married her in 1967. While he and his wife were teaching, he attended Middle Tennessee State University and earned a Masters of Science in Teaching. Their first son was born in 1971. In 1972, he left Shelbyville to attend the Auburn University School of Veterinary Medicine. In 1975, their second son was born. Both their sons became doctors – one for people, and one for animals.

He graduated from Veterinary School in 1976 and moved to Greenville to take a job with Cleveland Park Animal Hospital. When he became a partner in Cleveland Park in 1978, they were taking large and small animal calls at night...every night. As the practice grew, they opened hospitals in other locations to fill needs they identified. There are now modern hospitals in Greenville, Simpsonville, and Travelers Rest.
Phillips has also served on the Board of the Animal Emergency Clinic of Greenville, the Tri-County Technical College Advisory Board, the JD Massey Horse show board, and he is member of Phi Zeta.

He is described as being quietly focused and steadfast in his loyalty to the things that are important to him: his family and Veterinary Medicine. He has worked tirelessly to bring integrity, professionalism, responsibility, and respectability to the practice of Veterinary Medicine. He is also a compassionate employer who genuinely cares for his staff and their welfare.

SCAV congratulates Dr. Ben Phillips, 2013 SCAV Veterinarian of the Year. Dr. Phillips was nominated by Dr. Shannon Hait, who also practices at Cleveland Park Animal Hospital.

SCAV Names Eddie Huckabee Distinguished Veterinarian of the Year

The South Carolina Association of Veterinarians (SCAV) has named Eddie Huckabee, DVM, as its Distinguished Veterinarian of the Year. SCAV recognized Dr. Huckabee during its annual conference held recently in Charleston, SC. The award was accepted on Dr. Huckabee’s behalf by his daughter Laura Shuler, DVM.

When Dr. Huckabee opened Cherokee Trail Veterinary Hospital in Lexington, SC in the 1970s, life for a mixed practice veterinarian was almost a “24/7” job. The clinic was closed on Sundays, but farm calls and small animal emergencies occurred both night and day. No emergency clinics were available to give needed relief.

Like many small businessmen and women living in a close knit community, he was called upon to wear many hats. For years he was one of the judges at the annual high school science fair. He was also a popular chaperone on school trips because of his knowledge of the outdoors. One year he and his wife served as youth leaders at their church. As a Rotarian, he worked on community projects, including the annual Rotary Horseshow where he manned the concession stand and served as (of course) the show veterinarian.

As his practice grew, he added a permanent staff, but his part time help were often high school or college students who later became veterinarians. Some of those included Dr. Ginger Macaulay, Dr. Ray Caughman and Dr. Kelly Goodson. After “retiring,” he continued to do some relief work, but his most satisfying job was to help with routine surgery at a local veterinary practice. Some newly graduated veterinarians employed there were eager to learn but lacked both the experience and the confidence to perform surgeries so he helped them by demonstrating techniques and encouraging them to do the task.

Through the years, he enjoyed numerous hobbies. When his two daughters were little, the family traveled to various locations to collect fossilized bones, fish and plant material. He also restored a 19th century farmhouse as the family home. He furnished it with 18th and 19th century reproductions handcrafted in his woodworking shop. After selling his practice, he was able to pursue his love of adventure “on the road less traveled,” going to both mountainous and jungle regions throughout Central and South America. He shares his exploits with fellow travelers as a member of the SC Chapter of the Explorers Club. He is also currently serving on the educational board of the Kentucky Rifle Association and is a certified master beekeeper and avid gardener.

This veterinarian is married to the former Eugenia (“Gigi”) Mabry, his wife of 43 years. They still reside in their farmhouse in Lexington, SC. They have two married daughters: Anna Smith, a wildlife biologist and Dr. Laura Shuler, a practicing veterinarian. Gigi and her husband have four delightful grandchildren, two of which they share with former SCAVMA president, Dr. Ken and wife, Linda Shuler. Dr. Huckabee is a graduate of the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine.

The 2013 SCAV Distinguished Veterinarian of the Year was nominated by Dr. Wendi Lilly-Bare, of Pet Friends Veterinary Clinic in Columbia, SC who writes, “I have been out of school now for 10 years vand I can’t tell you the impact Dr. Huckabee made on me. I was in a difficult position; the veterinarian that hired me died unexpectedly, and I came to work in Columbia without a mentor or guidance. Dr. Huckabee was there to help me in every way. I learned so much from him in those first couple of years—he was instrumental on guiding me in my course to get to where I am now.” There are many veterinarians in the midlands and throughout South Carolina that can echo Dr. Lilli-Bare’s sentiments.

SCAV congratulates Dr. Eddie Huckabee as SCAV’s 2013 Distinguished Veterinarian of the Year.

SCAV Names Elizabeth Stephens and Crystal Paradise as Licensed Veterinary Technicians of the Year

The South Carolina Association of Veterinarians (SCAV) has named two equally worthy candidates as Licensed Veterinary Technicians of the Year. SCAV recognized Crystal and Elizabeth during its annual conference held recently in Charleston, SC.

Elizabeth Stephens is the first winner. She was nominated by Dr. Emily Johnson, of Dutch Fork Animal Hospital in Irmo, SC, who states, “Elizabeth is a model employee who has both exemplary technical skills and an amazingly positive attitude. She rises to every challenge that she faces with a contagious eagerness while anticipating the next.” Elizabeth is also involved in employee training, marketing, and business development through the local chamber of commerce. In addition to all these contributions to our veterinary practice, Elizabeth is a mother of two young children. Amazingly, she also finds time to teach at Piedmont Technical College, sharing her passion and nurturing the next generation of licensed veterinary technicians.

SCAV congratulates Elizabeth Stephens as 2013 SCAV Licensed Veterinary Technician of the Year

The second winner is Crystal Paradise. She has been an LVT since 2010, and is an employee and technical director at South Carolina Veterinary Emergency Care. She is responsible for training the technicians and assistants at the hospital where she encourages success from her team members. Gretchen Dillon-Sauer, the practice administrator that nominated her writes, “Crystal is a hands-on instructor and genuinely concerned with each technician’s achievements on the floor, in the lab, and more importantly, their communication and teamwork amongst each other. Crystal wholeheartedly deserves this award to acknowledge the difference she has made to the LVT profession and the enormous strides in her career over the years”.

SCAV congratulates Crystal Paradise as 2013 SCAV Licensed Veterinary Technician of the Year.

SCAV Names Cindy Morriston Veterinary Clinic Employee of the Year

The South Carolina Association for Veterinarians (SCAV) has named Cindy Morriston Veterinary Clinic Employee of the Year. Ms. Morriston works at the Fort Jackson Veterinary Treatment Facility where she has been the receptionist and office manager for 22 years. SCAV recognized Ms. Morriston during its annual conference held recently in Charleston, SC.

There were 7 nominees for this award with an average tenure of employment of over 11 years. In the case of Ms. Morriston, five different veterinarians who are now as far away as Vermont wrote letters of recommendation for her. Each veterinarian had worked with her at Fort Jackson and used superlatives to describe her work supporting the clinic that treats about 40,000 military dependents pets and military working dogs yearly.

Given the nature of a military base’s veterinarians rotating through every few years, Cindy is described as the glue that holds the clinic together. In a practice setting with a transient population base, maintaining records and handling health certificates and travel documents for a constantly changing clientele is an administrative task that Cindy handles easily. With her long tenure at Ft. Jackson, she has become adept at guiding pet owners to veterinary services outside the base when services are needed that they don’t offer. Terms like compassion, commitment, selflessness, honesty and integrity fill the letters from the five military veterinarians who nominated her. Ms. Morriston was nominated by Tim Loonam, DVM, of Grace Animal Hospital and Pet Lodge in Lexington, SC.

SCAV is pleased to honor Cindy Morriston as Veterinary Clinic Employee of the Year.

SCAV Names Jennifer Smith Humanitarian of the Year

The South Carolina Association of Veterinarians (SCAV) has named Jennifer Smith, founder and director of Noah’s Ark Rescue, based in Oakatie, SC, as Humanitarian of the Year. SCAV recognized Ms. Smith during its annual conference held recently in Charleston, SC.

Her organization, founded in 2007, is responsible for saving approximately 150-200 animals per year. Each animal she rescues is guaranteed full medical and surgical treatment regardless of the costs and logistics. NOAH’s Ark utilizes the care of more than a dozen general and specialty veterinary practices throughout our state. Smith is tireless and effective in her fundraising and placement efforts using her website at Last year, she raised nearly a million dollars to treat and rescue animals. She recently was responsible for campaigning to win $50,000 for Noah’s Arks from Chase Community giving contest. She then turned around and spread that money around to other local SC rescue groups. Jennifer’s organization does not shy away from the difficult cases–injured, sick or abused. After restoring these patients to health, NOAH’s Ark persists until they are placed in a forever home.

Although Smith prefers to remain anonymous in her efforts to help animals, it is only right that her efforts be applauded by the SCAV. In nominating Smith, Dr. Elizabeth Niciu, who practices at Dutch Fork Animal Hospital in Irmo, SC, wrote “If you meet Jennifer and hear her talking about Noah’s Ark Rescue and the animals in her care, you know that you just met a very special woman who has dedicated her life to rescue abused animals, and you feel touched, inspired, and honored. You certainly will never forget her and never look at an animal as ‘just an animal.’”.

SCAV is pleased to honor Jennifer Smith as the SCAV 2013 Humanitarian of the Year.

The South Carolina Association of Veterinarians (SCAV), established in 1911, is a not-for-profit association representing veterinarians. The Association strives to advance the science and art of veterinary medicine by providing opportunities for professional education and development and by enhancing the relationships between veterinarians, agriculture, pet owners, government and the public at large; and to protect the public health by promoting proper involvement in human and animal health care by the veterinary profession.


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