Daughters' of the American Revolution (DAR)
Community Service Awarded to
Founder of Cedar Hill Pet Memorial Project, Inc.
Theresa M. Brandon
The DAR Community Service Awards are an opportunity for chapters to recognize worthy individuals in their communities for unpaid voluntary achievements in cultural, educational, humanitarian, patriotic, historical, citizenship, or environmental conservation endeavors. The recipient must have contributed to the community in an outstanding manner through voluntary heroic, civic, benevolent service or by organizing or participating in community activities.
The death of a beloved pet was the beginning of this story. When Theresa Brandon tried to contact the Cedar Hill Pet Memorial Park in August 2011 to have her dog buried in a reserved plot that she had purchased years before, she discovered the property had been deserted and there were property taxes due on it back to 2004.
The property was set for auction, and since Texas has no laws protecting pet cemeteries, a new owner could do whatever they wanted with the land including bulldozing and paving it over. There was no way Theresa could stand by and do nothing. October 19, 2011, she founded the Cedar Hill Pet Memorial Project, Inc, (CHPMP) held a public meeting the following month which attracted 60 Park supporters. She announced that she had a newly formed nonprofit that needed a Board of Directors. Enthusiastic volunteers rallied to the call and the Board raised enough funds to purchase the property at auction on March 6, 2012, and paid the nearly $30,000 in back taxes, penalties, interest and attorney fees needed to secure the property.
"I met Theresa three years ago at a meeting at the library in Cedar Hill," says retired District Court Judge Lynn Cherry. "The purpose of that initial meeting was to learn about the future of the Cedar Hill Pet Cemetery and at that immediate time, it was very bleak…She developed a plan, rallied the troops and spent countless hours over the past three years to preserve the cemetery and create a future special location for generations to come."
Through Mrs. Brandon's efforts, Cedar Hill Pet Memorial Park, Inc's partnership with the Cedar Hill Police K-9 Unit resulted in the use of Titus, a Belgian Malinois, (Corporal David Podany Jr. his handler is also on the Board) one of the K-9 Unit dogs, was used as a model for the bronze statue titled "Enduring Valor". She also established CHPMP as a Charitable Partner with the PETCO Foundation and worked closely with the local PETCO where many donations were raised to help build the War Dog Monument.
On behalf of Old Chisholm Trail Chapter National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, Regent Bobby Cutler Hill announced, "It is my honor and privilege to name Theresa Marie Brandon the 2014 Community Service Award winner. Theresa Brandon has earned this award!"