Two years ago, the SPCA Albrecht Center established an Employee of the Month program as part of a renewed focus on employee appreciation. Candidates are nominated by their coworkers and/or supervisor, and selected employees are recognized with a certificate which is posted in our staff and volunteer break room and shared on social media and in our newsletters. In addition, each Employee of the Month is awarded with a $50 gift card of their choice, sponsored by our Board of Directors.

Since the program began, 24 employees have received this well-earned recognition: Shelter staff members Lyndsey Leitch, Pierre Cheatham, Emily Garcia, Carlos Rodriguez, Miranda Ewing, Shelby Bernard, Susannah Hipps, Brittny Johnson, Devin Wray, Emily Stephan, Michelle Jurnak and Seth Quick; Veterinary Care Center employees Patti Collins, Ashley Howell, Tracy Tate, LVT, Dr. Emily Beaty, Missy Salyers, and Jake Scruggs; and Thrift Store employees Thom Tate, Michelle Weimar, Carol Thigpen, Jacob Pernell, and Jennifer Anawalt.

At the beginning of this year, senior staff decided to take the program a step further by selecting an employee of the year from the previous monthly award recipients.

Each employee’s accomplishments, contributions and value as a team-member were considered until finally, one was unanimously selected: Missy Salyers, Veterinary Care Center Receptionist.

On February 11th, staff gathered to congratulate Missy and surprise her with an engraved trophy, a bouquet of flowers and a $100 Visa gift card. She is pictured along with SPCA Albrecht Center President & CEO Barbara Nelson, Dr. Lisa Handy, Practice Manager Julie Petersen, Licensed Vet Tech Tracy Tate, fellow receptionists Patti Collins and Helen Dellacroce, Dr. Patrick Keith, and Veterinary Assistant Ashley Howell.

Missy has been a member of the SPCA’s Veterinary Care Center staff since February 2020. Her friendliness and positive attitude were noticed right away and after two years working in a busy, fast-paced veterinary clinic, through the closures and uncertainly of the Covid-19 pandemic, Missy’s ability to quickly adapt, prioritize and remain patient and calm in the face of great pressure has been made evident.

I asked Missy about receiving the award and what it meant to her. “I was surprised, I had no clue what was going on. It was such an honor; it made me really proud, because I’m proud of what I do here. I feel very honored and privileged to have found something I feel proud to do, something my kids are proud to say ‘my mom works here’. It is truly a family here. My favorite part of my job is, of course, seeing all the animals, but I also like when I can help people out and teach them something new, especially about preventatives [like heartworm prevention], over the phone.”

Missy’s daughter, Faith has been a member of the volunteer team since 2021, contributing over 200 hours of her time and, as of last week, joined the staff as a part-time Clinic Assistant. “I’m very proud of her,” said Missy. “I love that it’s a family that works here and they’ve all taken her in. The doctors and Tracy [Licensed Vet Tech], they like to teach her. That’s how they were with me, too. It’s nice to see her learning.”

We’re all very proud of Missy’s accomplishments and grateful to have her and Faith both on our team. If you’re a client of our Veterinary Care Center, be sure to congratulate Missy the next time you’re here! And if you’re not a client, you should be! Take a look at what we offer at We operate a walk-in clinic for basic veterinary care Tuesdays – Fridays from 1:00 – 4:00 pm and 8:00 am – 12:00 pm on Saturdays. The SPCA Veterinary Care Center is located at 199 Willow Run Rd, in Aiken, SC.

Sarah Neikam has been with the SPCA Albrecht Center since 2012 serving first as Volunteer Coordinator, then Digital Media Manager, followed by Marketing Director and now Operations Manager. Sarah lives in Aiken with her husband Tom and their three adopted cats: Bastian, Luna and Grady plus three “former feral” cats: Willow, Big Boy & Phoebe.

The SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare is a private, nonprofit, no kill animal shelter in Aiken, SC. The SPCA also operates a local Thrift Store (“Where Shopping Saves Lives”), a public, affordable Veterinary Care Center & a Dog Park. It is our mission to improve the lives of companion animals by rehoming abused, abandoned, and neglected pets while fighting for their well-being through vigorous legislative efforts, humane education, and by offering affordable veterinary care for all.