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Winnipeg animal rescue wins over $32K, new vehicle at awards ceremony in Texas

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A local animal rescue is coming home as the top dog from an awards show in Texas.

Manitoba Underdogs Rescue took the top prize in the "Animal, Wildlife, and Marine Mammal Welfare" category at the Defender Service Awards last weekend.

“To be recognized on a national stage like that is something I never imagined for our rescue. It was very overwhelming, to say the least, but also incredible,” said Manitoba Underdog Rescue executive director Jessica Hansen.

The awards were created by car manufacturer Land Rover to recognize service workers and non-profit organizations on a mission to help others.

With the win, Manitoba Underdogs Rescue is the proud new owner of a Land Rover Defender 130 along with more than $32,000 USD in cash.

Hansen said the vehicle will be critical in helping to reach the northern, sometimes remote communities the organization serves, especially during treacherous Manitoba weather.

The win also affirms the work and dedication of the rescue’s volunteers.

“For it to reach that scale, it just feels really good for them.”

To enter the contest, nominees submitted a video explaining how their organizations serve the community, and how a new vehicle would help them continue and expand their work. (Source: Manitoba Underdogs Rescue/Instagram)

Manitoba Underdogs was nominated by the local Winnipeg Land Rover dealership.

To enter, nominees submitted a video explaining how their organizations serve the community, and how a new vehicle would help them continue and expand their work.

A panel of judges then narrowed entrants down to five nominees per category.

From there, public voting opened for a 20-day period on Land Rover’s website.

Manitoba Underdogs’ main competition was a wildlife refuge from North Carolina.

Hansen says she is grateful for the public’s support in helping secure the win.

“It was incredible, the amount of support that we saw. It wasn’t even just the votes. Just seeing everyone rally, seeing posts on Facebook or getting emails,” she said.

“It was a huge shock in the end.”

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