POLK COUNTY—Foothills Humane Society has a new well thanks to several caring individuals and organizations, along with the help of one angel dog. After consulting with Michael Gill of Croft Drilling of Spartanburg on the potential location and cost of a new well, the FHS Board of Directors was faced with an estimated cost of $15,000. As a non-profit relying on donations, this was a significant and unexpected expense facing the Humane Society. Gill offered to reach out to his friend Margaret Martens, Executive Director of the Water Well Trust to see if they could help. The Water Well Trust is a 501©3 organization that provides clean water supplies to families.
When Michael called Margaret, he did not know that she had just euthanized her beloved dog, Lily, two hours earlier.
Although the Water Well Trust had never funded a well for an animal organization, Margaret felt certain it was a sign from her beloved Lily that this was something they should do. She agreed to do it in memory of Lily. On July 10, Martens traveled to Foothills Humane Society to be there when Michael and his crew began drilling. The Water Well Trust funded almost the entire cost of the well with just a small balance that they are allowing to be repaid over time.
The cost of drilling a well can never be known in advance because the depth where water will be reached can’t be predicted. It turned out that the depth at which they reached water was slightly beyond the total funding amount received from the Water Well Trust. At that point, Michael Gill’s father Douglas Gill, owner of the company, decided he would donate the remaining cost in memory of his mother Virginia who was an animal lover and supporter of her local humane society in South Carolina.
“We are overwhelmed by the generosity of so many people, said FHS Board President, Carol Parker. “None of this would have happened if Michael Gill had not connected us with the Water Well Trust. It was his desire to help that started everything. Margaret Martens was the force that made it all possible through her generous benefactors. Douglas Gill got us the rest of the way by honoring his mother. And of course, Lily, Margaret’s beloved dog, was our angel.” The well installation has now been completed and is working great. FHS Executive Director, Kat Hamilton expressed gratitude to her staff for persevering through the challenge of working when the well kept running dry. She gave special recognition to Kennel Supervisor Kenny Lawrence who even assisted with hand digging the trench for the new electric line. She also appreciates all the community members who came to pick up and do the shelter’s laundry when the well was running dry.
The Board of Directors of FHS is planning to install a plaque near the well thanking the Water Well Trust and Margaret Martens and memorializing Lily for her part in the donation. Margaret Martens is planning to return to Foothills to adopt a dog very soon.
Submitted by Carol Parker