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story.lead_photo.caption John Ross IV, Brenda Williamson, TyRhonda Henderson and Jazzlyn hold a ceremonial check for $1 million donated on behalf of the Neva Nell McCormick Trust on Thursday in front of the Animal Care and Adoption Center in Texarkana, Arkansas. Photo by Kelsi Brinkmeyer / Texarkana Gazette.

TEXARKANA, Ark. — Representatives of a late local widow who cared for dozens of cats at a time made her $1 million donation to the Animal Care and Adoption Center official with a ceremony there Thursday.

Attorney John Ross IV and other representatives of the Neva Nell McCormick Trust presented a ceremonial check to the animal shelter's Interim Director Brenda Williamson and city Finance Director TyRhonda Henderson.

"There are going to be some happy cats and dogs," Ross said.

City Manager Kenny Haskin and the Board of Directors will soon decide just how the money will be allocated, Henderson said. Williamson said preliminary plans include renovating the shelter's older buildings to complement a new facility expected to open in late spring or early summer.

"We've already got this new building, but with the money we're going to be able to remodel this old building and use it for our stray animals and puppies. Right now, because this building is so old, it has a lot of diseases in it. Parvo is really bad. Puppies get bad, and they don't survive it.

"We'll be able to use that money to completely redo it to where that is no longer a problem, and we'll be able to save all these little puppies that previously we weren't able to do. It's going to be great," Williamson said.

McCormick, the widow of local chiropractor Roy McCormick, died late last year at age 91, Ross said. A longtime animal lover, she took care of up to 40 cats at a time during her life, even buying them their own house.

McCormick left her entire estate to various animal care organizations, but the donation to the shelter is the only one being made public, Ross said. Because the donation was to a part of city government, subject to financial transparency laws, it could not be kept private. Other donations from the estate will provide continuous funding for years to come, he said.

Williamson was named interim director this week, following the resignation of former Director Kayla Tucker. She spoke about her vision for the shelter's future.

"I really want to bring community awareness to spaying and neutering your pets and making sure they're being kept secure in their yards so we don't have them running around and being picked up.

"I want to be able to have a safe place to be able to put them here if that does happen, and I'd like to have more community involvement, people coming in and volunteering," she said.

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