Joanna Sellards had a lifelong dream of starting a nonprofit animal shelter. Now, her friends and family are working to make that dream a reality. (Submitted)

New Philadelphia, Ohio - Friends and family of a local woman killed last month in a car crash are working to keep her memory alive by starting an animal shelter in her honor. 

Twenty-four-year-old Joanna Sellards of Newcomerstown died on December 7th from injuries she sustained during a crash on I-77. 

Shawna Clark was Joanna’s friend and her supervisor at the ULTA Beauty store in New Towne Mall. She says Joanna had a passion for helping animals and a lifelong dream of starting a non-profit no-kill animal shelter. Now, Clark and others are working to make that dream a reality.

“A lot of people in the community have known about this, and she was helping them with veterinarian bills and taking in unwanted animals and rehoming them, so we just wanted to continue this passion that she had even though she’s not able to be with us,” she says.

Clark says they’ll be having a benefit dinner tomorrow from 6 to 10 at the New Philadelphia VFW. The event is open to the public, and proceeds will go toward starting Joanna’s shelter. 

“There is a $5 donation at the door, and we’re providing a rigatoni and meatball dinner. We’re going to have live music. We have two different bands that are going to be playing. We have basket raffles. We have a silent auction. We’re doing a 50/50.  We’re just basically just getting together to celebrate the wonderful life that she had and the wonderful things that she was doing,” she says.    

Clark says people can also contribute toward the cause by making a donation to the Joanna Beitzel Sellards Memorial Fund through the First Federal Community Bank on North Wooster Avenue in Dover. 

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