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Winters were spent hoping the Willamette Valley would get snow." Her family owned a long-haul trucking business and, during her childhood, her father constantly brought home injured animals from the highways on which his trucks travelled; this eventually instilled in her an ongoing commitment to saving and rehabilitating wild animals.Irwin joined an emergency veterinary hospital in 1989 as a veterinary technician to gain further knowledge on the care and support to all kinds of animals.Upon returning to the zoo in 1995, Mannion took up the position of manager and in 2001 was promoted to director; Mannions' ex-wife Jodie Chapman is the records officer of the zoo.During Irwin's growing success with The Crocodile Hunter show, Mannion would often star in the show as Steve's right hand and co-host, in the event that Irwin's wife Terri was unable to be there.In her first statement since her husband's death, Irwin announced the Australian memorial service (on September 20, 2006 at Australia Zoo in Queensland) would be open to the public, and that people who wished to attend should make a donation to Irwin's "Wildlife Warriors" fund.
However, as a partner in their wildlife enterprises and television shows, she believes she was able to do far greater work on behalf of wildlife conservation.
He and Irwin worked alongside each other at the zoo learning about reptile and animal husbandry and eventually moved on to capturing and relocating wild crocodiles.
Mannion started full-time at the Australia Zoo in 1988, working alongside Steve and gaining intimate knowledge of the care and management of wildlife.
His passion for reptiles continued throughout his childhood years and at age 14, Mannion made his first visit to the Queensland Reptile and Fauna Park, now known as Australia Zoo.
Mannion and Steve Irwin met in the mid-1980s when Mannion and his parents visited Australia Zoo.