Volunteer Spotlight: Paula and Nelson DiGennaro

Paula and Nelson DiGennaro are two of SICSA’s most dedicated volunteers, though many have never met them! They live out of state, but spend the majority of the year organizing SICSA’s Red Dog Racers Fundraiser, which takes place every October. They travel the country, collecting racing memorabilia, and come to Dayton for the event itself. All of the proceeds raised at Red Dog Racers benefit SICSA’s spay/neuter program. These funds allow SICSA to spay or neuter approximately 3,000 animals each year, effectively reducing pet overpopulation in our community.

Paula and Nelson joined SICSA in 2002, assisting with SICSA’s Red Dog Auction fundraiser. Paula became good friends with Zandra Gibson, SICSA’s Spay/Neuter Coordinator, when Paula was a realtor. Paula decided at that time that she would like to help SICSA with the Red Dog Auction, and her husband, Nelson, joined her. They quickly noticed that there was a lack of motorsports memorabilia in the silent auction so Paula and Nelson pulled some items from people they knew in the racing community. The response was so overwhelming that they decided to host a separate racing auction that would benefit SICSA’s spay/neuter program. This event grew over the years and, in 2009, Paula and Nelson retired, sold their home, and moved full time into their motorhome. They were, of course, worried about the future of this event but realized they could take it on the road!

Paula and Nelson do the majority of the work for this event electronically as they travel the country, and then come back to Dayton prior to the event to get all logistics settled. They work closely with other Racers volunteers, friends, and donors, to pull this event off. Says Zandra, “Paula and Nelson’s love of racing and animals is obvious in their tireless dedication to ensuring a successful Red Dog Racers Auction year after year.”

Last year, in particular, they really had to rely on the help of supporters in the community. They had everything in place for the fundraiser and then, five days prior to the event, they found out that the venue had permanently closed. Finding a new venue was incredibly stressful, says Paula, but “it was so heartwarming to see everyone at SICSA, the media, and the public pitch in to find us an acceptable location for the event.” Cold Beer & Cheeseburgers stepped up to offer their location and it worked out perfectly! Paula continues, “Although stressful, it showed how we can all come together to help the furry little ones.”

Their favorite thing about volunteering at SICSA is the people and, of course, the animals who finally find their forever homes. Paula says that they continue volunteering because they’ve figured out a way to combine their passion for motorsports with their love for the animals.  Says, Paula, “Why wouldn’t we keep doing it? We want to help SICSA raise funds to help the animals in any way we can.”

We at SICSA cannot begin to express our appreciation for the hard work Paula and Nelson dedicate to this event, year after year. Their passion for helping animals is clear and we are so grateful that they’ve given so much time and energy to SICSA over the years. Thank you both for everything you’ve done and continue to do for SICSA – we couldn’t do it without you!

Please join us at this year’s Red Dog Racers Charity Auction on Saturday, October 15th at Cold Beer & Cheeseburgers. Full details can be found on our website:

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