PETERSBURGH, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Berkshire Bird Sanctuary has been around for over 50 years and has saved thousands of animals. Peter Dubacher started the sanctuary with his father after serving as a Vietnam War soldier. He says that creating the sanctuary helped him while he struggled with PTSD after the war.

“One of the things that really helped me was to be around animals,” he said. “And back in that time, it was during the Vietnam War… There were a lot of soldiers that came back and had different problems.”

But he says the sanctuary helped him refocus his energy on helping wildlife. The organization has saved thousands of animals from around the country and beyond.

In 2009, the sanctuary was able to save an eagle who lost his wing during the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill. And he continues to get calls about animals needing a safe haven.

“I’m a firm believer that every life is precious,” he said.

Jeremiah’s father and Peter were great friends. His father, Ward Stone, was the Director of the Wildlife Pathology Unit of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. He was also a big supporter of the sanctuary. Even though he has passed on, Jeremiah still remembers growing up and visiting the sanctuary.

“Kind of roaming the lands with Peter’s daughter Elizabeth,” Stone said. “We spent a lot of time just kind of looking at birds.”

And now Elizabeth is in charge of the sanctuary. Jeremiah says that the organization is always looking for help.

“He’s constantly getting new birds; there’s always work to be done on-site,” he said. “And it’s just a fun place to be.”

The sanctuary has dealt with some unfortunate issues. A fire in 2019 and then a snowstorm which caused damage to the eagle cages. Jeremiah says that he is looking forward to the sanctuary having a fresh start this year.

“I’m looking forward to a lot of rebuilding. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done on-site. New birds are constantly coming in and just further rehab,” Stone said.

Peter Dubacher is also grateful for the community’s support. Right now, they have a GoFundMe page to raise funds to help rebuild the cages.

“I am so proud of all the volunteers and the people coming forth to help,” Dubacher said. “And you know we’re going to make it. We’re gonna do it. My goal is to save this world.”

Organizers are hoping to start repairs as soon as possible. They are also hoping the project will be complete by the summer.