RUSKIN, Fla. — Dr. Hal Ott is a veterinarian and founder of the Ruskin Animal Hospital.
- Dr. Hal Ott is this week's Everyday Hero
- Ott, a retired vet, cares for not only animals but also people
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Now semi-retired, he spent years caring for dogs and cats and all animals, and that includes the human variety.
"I truly believe that the more you give, that you give generously from the heart, soulfully and not with any intention of getting anything back, it comes back to you many times over," Ott said.
Almost 20 years ago, a visit to Haiti and its impoverished children made a deep and lasting impression. He immediately got involved.
"It started that I was providing meals for children at schools and providing education for them," he said.
Since then his involvement has grown. Ott has helped farmers borrow funds to allow them to grow and sell their crops. He has even helped with financial support to the Smile Train, a nonprofit that provides free corrective surgery for children with cleft lips and palates.
Back home he purchased a home in which he allows refugees to live for extended periods until they're able to find and afford a place of their own.
He also opened the county's only no-kill animal shelter and bought land to house a dog park.
He even just signed up to deliver food for Meals on Wheels.
"I just look for the opportunities. They can be helping somebody in a grocery store. It can be letting somebody in a car in a lane that needs to get over. We just look for chances, opportunities to help somebody else," Ott said.