By Bob Goodman
Although I do not recall how I first met Nancy Laird, our friendship lasted until the present. Her two daughters were quite young when I would visit them in Washoe Valley to pick up a raptor for release, or just to say “Howdy.”
A 'tradition' developed at each visit. To respect her daughters, she would not buy any cigarettes to have around her home, so we shared 'smoke time' as I offered her one of my Lucky Strikes. Well, on a longer visit, perhaps a couple of them.
When an interesting bird or other critter may arrive for rehabilitation, she would call me to come down and photograph it. One memorable event was when some eggs were hatching and I rushed down to photograph the sequence.
Her dedication to wildlife was astounding. She had to invent many procedures to help a critter recover as she knew exactly what its needs would be. She enlisted her daughters for a lot of the procedures, which impressed me much.
I felt honored to be called upon when she had a raptor to be released back to the wild. She always wanted it to be let loose in the vicinity of where it was found injured. This was a great opportunity to discover a new part of Nevada as a Golden Eagle in a large container rested in the back of my van for the trip. We agreed that some PR along the way was a good thing. If the opportunity presented itself, I would stop at a place where there were folks and invite them to take a look at the bird.
Did it work? Even today, when I meet a retired bartender at Gerlach in the coffee shop, he hastens to tell others about seeing this Golden Eagle up close and personal. I would pass out Nancy's business card so they may contribute to her cause.
Once, she had the time, so she, her daughters, a Golden Eagle, and I traveled far up Smoke Creek to near Robber's Roost for the release. It was something to witness as the three of them bid farewell to the bird in their own way.
Nancy was the definition of "dedicated."