In September of this year, Living Free lost a cherished member of its family. Joan Fagan had served as volunteer Executive Director from 2000 to 2007, and steered the Sanctuary through its most difficult times. Emily Jo Beard’s son, Chris Watts, stated recently, “Joan saved this place.”
Joan was an unwavering advocate for animals and staunch supporter of Emily’s ideals and the Sanctuary’s mission. After her departure in 2007, Joan remained on the Board until 2012, and served as an advisor until the time of her death. After her retirement and move to Paradise, California, Joan continued to do whatever she could for the animals, volunteering at a local rescue there. Most recently, she called our attention to the plight of a herd of wild mustangs known as the Sheldon Warhorses, and the Sanctuary is now developing an initiative to provide refuge for some of these animals as a result.
She tirelessly volunteered her services throughout her tenure, and her legacy will live on with the establishment of the Joan Fagan Volunteer of the Year Award. This award will be based on peer selection, and go to the volunteer who best exemplifies Joan’s dedication to the animals and support of the Sanctuary’s mission.
Joan Fagan will always remain a part of Living Free. She is greatly missed, but never forgotten.