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Navy Veteran’s New Mission: Helping Animals

Juan Vargas is proud of his service to his country as a Navy veteran and a Pasadena Humane volunteer. In the new year, he will be representing Pasadena Humane on the nonprofit’s 2024 Rose Parade float.
Vargas enlisted in the U.S. Navy right after high school, when the Gulf War had just begun, he was deployed to combat zones many times, and also served as a recruiter for several years. Vargas credits his desire to defend and protect his country for his 20-year Naval career.
Vargas, a Montrose resident, has also served as a proud volunteer for Pasadena Humane. After five years of volunteering at the shelter, Vargas has earned more than 7,000 total service hours. He is looking forward to being a part of the New Year’s Day Rose Parade with the organization.
“It was an honor to be asked [to ride on the parade float],” Vargas said. “I appreciate being able to participate with other volunteers whom I admire.”
He is often the first volunteer called upon by many departments at Pasadena Humane. Vargas divides his time between being a foster care volunteer, wildlife transporter, event helper and volunteer engagement committee member. When he’s at the shelter, he makes it a point to check in with different departments to see if they need assistance.
“The Navy taught me to be a jack-of-all-trades,” Vargas said. “Whatever anyone needs me to do, I do.”
He drives animals to medical appointments, picks up donations and sometimes acts as a chauffeur for kittens being transferred to other partner shelters, sometimes as far as Arizona. Vargas also serves the shelter by mentoring new volunteers and explaining different opportunities and projects.
“I feel honored to represent the shelter in the Rose Parade,” Vargas said. “It’s nice to be recognized for doing something you love.”
In return, Pasadena Humane staff are honored to count Vargas among their volunteers.

First published in the November 11 print issue of the Glendale News-Press.

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