Courtney S. Groves, 28 

Director of Appointments, Office of Gov. Bob McDonnell, Founder, Bonnie Blue Rescue

click to enlarge SCOTT ELMQUIST

As a high-school volunteer at the local animal shelter, Courtney Groves found her calling when she met Bonnie Blue, a dog she says was so sad and ugly no one else would possibly want to adopt her. She convinced her parents to let her take the dog in, saving it from near-certain death.

Now in a key position with Gov. Bob McDonnell's administration, Groves' heart is in the work she does after her long days in the governor's office — saving dogs from high-kill animal shelters around the South through the rescue organization she founded, Bonnie Blue Rescue.

Groves' organization has rescued 626 animals, pulling them from shelters in Southern cities where adoption rates are low, and transporting them to the Northeast where they're easier to place with families.

Between her job coordinating the governor's appointments to state boards and commissions, Groves spends her mornings, nights and weekends in front of her computer with a phone to her ear, working to coordinate the transportation of the animals up the coast through a network of volunteers, each of whom drives a short leg of the long journey to their new homes up North.

"I don't sleep a lot," she says.


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