We Learned to do the Right Thing
Dr. Fletcher is a Small Animal Practitioner residing in Asheville North Carolina. In addition to the traditional role of practicing veterinary medicine, Casey is also deeply involved in companion animal welfare issues, particularly pet overpopulation. On any given day, a visitor might find a litter of abandoned puppies, kittens or orphaned opossums getting a much needed boost in life. She believes that this “obligation to help those in need” is directly attributable to her time at WMS.
Her journey to become a veterinarian took a rather circuitous route. As a self described “Free Spirit”, upon graduation from WMS, immediately attending college was not in her plans. “I wasn’t ready or able to be serious about academics at that point in time. It was the early 1980’s and hitchhiking around the country was infinitely more appealing to me. Many of us needed some extra time to settle ourselves.” Eventually, she earned a two-year computer programming degree and ultimately enrolled in San Francisco State University to pursue an undergraduate degree in Biology. “That was when my light switch really turned on. I understood science. I became very focused on my education and animal welfare issues. My goal was to become a veterinarian.” says Casey. That goal was achieved in 1996 when she was graduated from the University of Wisconsin’s School of Veterinary Medicine.
Casey met her husband Marty in 1983, while living in San Francisco. They were married 11 years later in a simple ceremony, on the edge of a Minnesota lake by none other than WMS’s own faculty/chaplains, Kristen Foster and Frank Davis. They are currently raising three children, one girl and two boys. Casey is an avid gardener.
When Casey looks back at her time at WMS, she reflects on the environment of the late 1970‘s. “As time goes by, I see our chapter in WMS’s history as a little piece of Americana. It was a time of peace, prosperity and decadence. However, once you strip away the 1970’s stylism, the overall experience we had was the same as every generation before and after. We all share a deep caring for one another and a love and appreciation of the outdoors.” She sees her WMS friends as family and those from different WMS decades as a sort of extended family. “We all weave in and out of each other’s lives creating a beautiful WMS tapestry.” There is a common bond between anyone who has ever lived at our School.
The faculty at WMS had a major impact Casey’s philosophy in life. “The faculty at WMS believed in me,” says Casey. “Although I was far from a model student, many had faith in me as a human being. They knew that some of my less than stellar behaviors were simply a phase and not a permanent feature.” Just this weekend Casey was able to reconnect with Lisa Cantrell, who was a nurse at WMS during her school years. “Lisa and Patty Ritzo (art) and Kristin Foster and Frank Davis knew I had potential,” says Casey. “I am sure they were deeply concerned about me at times, but I feel they just as deeply believed in me. The level of support and care they gave me during a time that I needed it, has shaped my entire outlook on life.”
Now Casey makes giving back a part of her regular routine. Her in-house “animal projects” are designed not only to help the individual animals but to involve others in the art of caring. She teaches by example, the importance of helping when and where you can. Whether it is an animal in need or a neighborhood child who needs someone to believe in them. “I think that is a life lesson and a White Mountain School value that resonated with me. We have an obligation to help when we possess the ability to do so. These were the ethics and values I learned at WMS. We learned to do the right thing.”