In Memory of Samantha Mullen
As an educator, it is often equally, if not more rewarding, when a student learns a life or moral lesson than when he or she masters the subject matter. For me, teaching humane education — either overtly or embedded in the curriculum — along with Spanish, often has tangible results. Hearing my young charges react to animal cruelty, promote spaying and neutering, or advocate for stronger animal protection laws makes each day in the classroom especially fulfilling.
One doesn’t need to be a formal teacher, however, to educate others and have a profound and long-lasting effect on animal protection. An example is NYSHA’s beloved Board Member, Samantha Mullen, who died on December 21, 2012, with the same dignity, grace, and courage she was an example of all her life. There are no words to convey our loss, nor the loss for the animals for whom she fought tirelessly, endlessly, eloquently.
It is a great testimonial to her inspirational nature that so many people, including friends from long ago, came to say good-bye and to tell her they loved her. Her circle was huge, and the difference she made by her life will outlive her always, just like the ripples spreading from a pebble tossed in a pond that reach continually outward. The world and its inhabitants, both human and non-human, are much better because of the power of this one extraordinary person.
The unending tributes we received — either to or about Samantha — were universal in that we could all relate to her influence, integrity, and dedication, yet were striking in how individualized her relationships were with those she mentored. We at NYSHA always knew how special Samantha was, yet we were still overwhelmed by her sphere of devotees and will be sharing some of their heartfelt comments on our website.
Last week Samantha’s Legislation Committee met, and again we were guided by her spirit, her thoughts, and her wisdom. By her hands-on activities, because of her legislative successes, and through the people she educated, millions of animals — born and not yet born — enjoy or will have lives free of suffering.
Samantha’s work is her legacy, and she will be missed in direct proportion to all she accomplished for animals, which was and will continue to be an immeasurable contribution for their protection. We know our mission! Spread the good word in her honor and fight her good fights in her memory!
Knowing Samantha was one of the greatest privileges of my life, and it says so much about her that so many people feel the same.
As always, for the animals,
New York State Humane Association Humane Review, Vol.XXVI, No.1, Spring/Summer 2012.