We are very sad to share that we have lost a member of the Bird Rescue family, our ever-smiling volunteer Lela Nishizaki.
Lela started volunteering with us in 2010, and she immediately became an important part of the team. Her devotion to the birds was evident and she always showed up with a positive, fun attitude. She completed every task with a smile and really helped us all get through long hard days.
Lela passed away suddenly earlier this month and our team will greatly miss her. Lela’s favorite bird in care was the Brown Pelican, and it was obvious since one of her favorite tasks was siphoning the pools in our large aviary. Every Monday for the past seven years, Lela sat in the same comfy blue chair during lunch, sharing stories of her life while enjoying the stories of others. Seeing this chair empty now reminds us all that our time here is short, and we should enjoy every moment just as Lela did.
I was lucky enough, along with a few of our volunteers, to meet Lela’s husband Ed and her lovely daughters at her memorial service. Many of her friends and family members introduced themselves to us, explaining how much Lela loved our organization. Being at her service, surrounded by her friends and family, filled my heart with joy and happiness, knowing that Lela came from such a large group of people who cared so much for her.
In lieu of flowers and in the spirit of Lela’s affection for the birds, many of her friends and family kindly donated to Bird Rescue in her memory. We are pleased to know how much we impacted Lela and how thrilled she was to share our mission to others. We too were deeply impacted by her! It is with great sadness to admit that Mondays without her will not be the same.
Bird Rescue will be planting a native tree in her honor on the grounds of the center.
SF Bay Center Manager