(April 17, 2005) -- Friends of Long Beach Animals has won national recognition as part of USA Weekend's "Make a Difference Day."
In a creative and compassionate event last October, Friends of LB Animals and the Samuel Turner Foundation visited the Spinal Cord Injury Unit of the LB Veterans Administration hospital, bringing patients cheer with friendly animals.
Led by president Shirley Vaughan (right) Friends of LB Animals (an LBReport.com sponsor) has built an army of volunteers overseeing SNIP and The Big Fix (spaying/neutering), humane education classes for LBUSD, pet adoptions, medical bill payments for shelter animals...and has donated sets of pet oxygen recovery masks to every fire station in LB and Signal Hill.
The Samuel Turner Foundation's web site says its mission is to "promote the well being of people in need and proper treatment of animals through education and active participation [and] to be an advocate for disadvantaged people and animals and to act as an agent for positive change."
A kite-flying fundraiser organized in October 2004 by LB resident Michael Rivard was among national award recipients ($10,000 from Paul Newman). USA Weekend says the event raised $40,000 to send children with heart disease to Camp del Corazon for youngsters with heart ailments. Mr. Rivard was LB's first open-heart surgery patient 48 years ago.
Also recognized locally was Winners on Wheels, whose web site indicates it empowers children in wheelchairs by encouraging personal achievement through creative learning and expanded life experiences that lead to independent living skills.
"Make a Difference Day" was created 14 years ago by USA Magazine (published by Gannett which publishes USA Today). Winners are profiled in newspapers carrying USA Weekend (the Press-Telegram locally).