KILMARNOCK, Va. -- No matter what you seek, you can probably find it at the AWL Thrift Shop in Kilmarnock. The store in the bustling little town, about an hour and half drive from Richmond, is always humming with people looking for a bargain.
“Jewelry. Antiques. Silver. Clothes. Shoes. Purses. It is a department store in itself and it beats Walmart," says Judy Harvell. "This is a very big operation. You can find anything in here!”
Locals consider the store the heartbeat of Northern Neck, and its pulse runs on volunteer work.
“Nobody is paid," says Harvell. "We are all volunteers.”
The driving force behind the buzz are sisters Judy Harvell and Joyce Page. The sisters, originally from Washington, D.C., aren’t so much interested in profit as they are paws.
“Not a cent goes in our pockets, it is all for the animals," said the 79-year-old Judy.
Judy is the president of the Animal Welfare League. Her older sister, Joyce, is vice-president.
The non-profit’s mission is saving abandoned and abused dogs and cats.
“That is why we do so much work in the Northern neck with shelters there aren't enough good homes in the Northern neck," says 83-year-old Joyce.
From spay and neuter and foster programs in homes to paying medical bills, the AWL goes above and beyond helping animals find forever homes.
The sisters share responsibilities. The pair coordinates a team of 50 volunteers, runs the thrift shop and makes rescues from area shelters.
“(Joyce) will stop in the middle of the road to pick up the turtle. She will do anything when it comes to the animals and I mean anything," says younger sister, Judy.
This dynamic duo has fur on their mind round the clock.
“I tell people if it is animal related, I am available 24 hours a day. If it is not animal related don't call me after 8 o'clock at night," says Joyce.
Volunteers like Linda Lloyd say the sister’s commitment is unequaled.
“They just don’t know how to slow down,” says Linda. “They work endlessly and tirelessly for the animals.”
AWL volunteer, Terri Dort, draws inspiration from her mentors each day.
“Joyce is the hands on person and Judy runs that organization. Between both of them it is unbelievable what the two of them have accomplished. Unbelievable," says Terri.
“Well, it means that we have saved another life," says Joyce. “It means that it made my day and my efforts are worthwhile and it gets me out of bed the next morning.
Despite the long hours and physical and emotional toll saving animals can take the sisters have no intention of slowing down.
“I'm not interested in golf or bingo or bridge none of those things interest me this is what I have dedicated my retirement life too. And Judy the same," says Joyce.
Next time you stop into the thrift shop at the corner of Main and Irvington, remember, those special treasures you’re looking for might be standing right in front of you.
“We all have a common interest in that is for the animals," says Joyce. And do the best we can for them while we're here with them.”
The AWL 16th annual “Dog Gone Dog Show” is one of the non-profit’s most popular fundraisers. The event will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 15.
If you know of someone who you think should be featured in my “Heroes Among Us” reach out to CBS 6 reporter Greg McQuade.