Valerie and Steve Marrero on the back row along with their family Corey Taylor, from left, Alexis Marrero, Brandon Marrero and Cameron Taylor on the front row along with Otis the dog are pictured outside of the Humane Society of South Coastal Georgia.

submitted photo

Compassion is something learned at home. And the Marrero home is brimming with it. The family which includes parents Valerie and Steve as well as their children, Corey Taylor, 16; Cameron Taylor, 17; Alexis Marrero, 17; and Brandon, 14, have found a collective passion for helping animals. They have also found a place where they can do just that — the Humane Society of South Coastal Georgia.

Valerie works there as a medical manager but she has also enlisted the help of her family, all of whom volunteer on weekends.

“We make sure all of our pets are spayed or neutered, vaccinated, dewormed, microchipped, heartworm tested (dogs) or feline leukemia and FIV (cats) tested negative. Our dogs are started on heartworm prevention if negative, or treated if heartworm positive. This is all done before adoption,” Valerie said.

“I’ve been involved with many rescues and shelters in my adult life, but always as a volunteer — never a paid employee. I feel blessed to do what I love and get paid for it. This is what I was born to do ... my purpose.”

She shares that love with her family. Each of her children and her husband all see the value of helping animals and feel that their work at the Humane Society truly makes a difference. The children go to the shelter multiple times a month. They enjoy socializing the animals as well as organizing supplies and other tasks.

“We do different things every time we go to the Humane Society. We walk dogs, do laundry and sometimes we help make syringes,” Corey explained.

“I usually help in the surgery room. Needs change from time to time but mainly consist of washing surgery equipment, organizing and folding surgery blankets then sweeping and mopping the floor,” Cameron added.

For Valerie and Steve, getting the youngsters involved was crucial. It was not as much about what they would be doing and why they would be doing it.

“It is very important for me to teach my children responsible pet ownership. It’s also very important as a teenagers to volunteer and do something else and not for themselves,” she said. “It’s very easy to become self involved these days.”

It is a lesson that has been well received. All of the children have a sincere desire to make a difference in the lives of animals.

“They need care and love just as much as we do. It’s our job to give it to them,” Alexis said.

“It’s important to help animals so they are in a good environment and so they enjoy us as we enjoy them,” Brandon said.

Corey agrees and also feels that humans are obligated to help.

“I think it is important to help animals because it is very important to me that they get a home ... because they are not able to help themselves,” Corey said.

They also practice what they preach. The Marrero family has its very own pack of animals at home.

“Right now, we have four dogs and four cats. Our newest addition is a dog named Hershey. We fostered him for the humane society during Hurricane Matthew evacuations and just couldn’t take him back,” Valerie said.

Coastal People appears Tuesdays. Contact Lindsey Adkison at

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