Woo hoo! After a season full of witnessing gratitude spreading through the Hudson Valley like wildfire, we picked our #HVthankful winner and presented a $1,500 donation to the charity of her choice – the Hudson Valley SPCA.

From L-R: Eve Ashworth, Owner, Ashworth Creative; Courtney Bonfante, Project Manager, Ashworth Creative; Brianna Best, HVThankful Winner; Matt Hughes, Kennel Manager, Hudson Valley SPCA; Kelly Apfel, Executive Assistant, Good Reasons Dog Treats; Tom DiCarrado, Vice President, HV SPCA Board of Directors; Dee Volek, Marketing Manager, Premier Medical Group.


Just before Thanksgiving we launched our #HVThankful promotion and asked residents of the Hudson Valley to share what they were thankful for in the area using the hashtag #HVThankful on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Participants were competitng for the chance to win a donation to the local charity of their choice.

As the word got out, we had some awesome sponsors come aboard – Good Reasons Dog Treats, Premier Medical Group, Highway Displays, Gellert, Klein and MacLeod – and the grand prize swelled to $1,500.

On January 5th, we selected our winner, Brianna Best, who then selected Hudson Valley SPCA as the charity to receive the donation. Although the drawing was completely and utterly random, we really could not have picked a more winning pair.

Both Brianna and the HVSCPA know what it’s like to rise out of the ashes – figuratively and literally. -In March 2014, a fire destroyed Kennel 2 of the HVSPCA’s shelter. Two dogs perished and the shelter was left with a massive hurdle to overcome. Around the same time, Best was finally beginning to heal from some serious health issues. Two years ago, she had been diagnosed with five chronic illnesses and wound up trading in college classes for a whirlwind of ER visits, trips to a flurry of specialists, and ambulance rides. At the height of the ordeal, she found herself needing to create an end of life care plan at the age of twenty-one. Today, both Brianna and the HV SPCA are on the mend. Through much-needed volunteering and donations, the HVSCPA was able to construct new housing for the kennels lost in the fire. Named after the two dogs who died in the blaze, the Harley Johnson Park features eight 864 square foot sections of living space for dogs residing at the shelter.

Around March of last year, as her health began to improve, Best resolved to climb every mountain – literally. “Losing everything gave me a whole new perspective on life,” said Best, who now spends her days hiking around the Hudson Valley and chronicling her journey on her Instagram “I just want adventure because I’m so grateful to be alive.”

We want to again thank our sponsors for helping to make our plan to share goodwill throughout the Hudson Valley a success and we also want to thank Brianna for her enthusiasm and generosity. Most of all, we want to thank all of the participants who made this contest a success and who inspired us with their stories of gratitude – you can see them all on www.hvthankful.com. And please keep the conversation going – this is only the beginning!