AUGUSTA, Kan. (KSNW) — A Kansas teenager’s volunteerism is inspiring people of all ages.

“She represents the future,” said Bulter County Director of Emergency Management Keri Korthlas.

Korthlas is describing Sutton O’Crowley. Sutton, 14, is a dedicated volunteer and member of the Butler County Animal Response Team, a team that helps animals following a disaster. She joined the group when she was just 6-years-old.

Sutton completes ropes training (Courtesy: Jen O’Crowley)

“I really like working with animals and helping people and things like that,” Sutton said. “Since I have been with them since such a young age, they have made me feel really accepted into the team.”

Sutton’s passion for volunteering comes from her parents. She credits them for the skills and directive to put herself out there.

“It means helping people without basically being asked. It’s not something you have to do, but it’s something that you choose to do because it’s the right thing to do. That’s kind of what my mom and dad taught me. You’re supposed to do the right thing even when you are not asked to do it,” she explained.

Through her volunteerism, Sutton has gone through CPR and preparedness training. She’s mastered rescue plans and worked numerous events educating others on the Butler County Animal Response Team’s mission.

“At a young age, she stepped up and showed herself as being willing to be a leader, being willing to be out in the public, being a face of the team, interacting with the public, promoting preparedness,” Korthlas said. “We have a lot of very devoted volunteers, a lot of folks with years of experience behind them, but a point will come where those volunteers are going to age out, and that leadership is going to move on, so Sutton is one of those who we are kind of priming as that next group of leaders.”

As a leader, Sutton is also involved in her school’s trap team, cheer squad, and bass team, and she does the scholars bowl. She hopes her dedication to activities and volunteering will inspire others to give a piece of themselves to a cause.

“Actually, seeing one of their classmates doing what we are hoping the rest of them will do is much more impactful, I think, than having one of us older folks go in and tell them, hey, you really need to join us,” Korthlas said.

Sutton hopes to work as a physician assistant in the ER someday.