UPAWS a worthy recipient of cash gift for project

There’s a pretty common saying many of us have heard before — that a dollar doesn’t go very far these days. But when you get 100,000 of those dollars all in one lump sum, well, that’ll put a smile on just about anyone’s face.

There’s little doubt in our minds that the sold-out crowd at the Masonic Building in downtown Marquette last weekend was full of smiling faces. That old building, situated in the middle of the block on Washington Street, was the recent scene of a wonderful party, heightened in dramatic fashion by a perfectly played surprise on some unsuspecting and well-deserving victims.

The Upper Peninsula Animal Welfare Shelter on Oct. 13 held its annual fundraising gala, Cause for Paws, at the Masonic Building.

By all reports, the party was going off without a hitch, for the most part, with raffle giveaways and hors d’ouvres, and warm-hearted folks posing for photos on the red carpet.

The gala is one of the main fundraising events that supports UPAWS and its mission of caring for the homeless animals in Marquette County and doing what it can to find those animals a proper home.

What’s more, is that the UPAWS folks are in the thick of a major effort to raise money for a brand new shelter, so the pressure for a successful night collecting donations from the gala was even greater.

As it turns out, the community came together and showed strong support for UPAWS by occupying all available seats at the gala.

As the night was winding down, Ann Brownell, UPAWS Community Outreach and Volunteer coordinator, shared a letter that was sent to her. It was dedicated to everyone in the caring community who in some way helped UPAWS or had an impact on the shelter and the pets that have gone through there.

“To honor everyone who has been a party of this ‘village’ and has worked to make UPAWS a caring and loving temporary home for numerous homeless animals for many years, and to help celebrate even better days ahead as the new shelter moves toward completion, a friend of UPAWS would like to present this check to Kori (Tossava) for the shelter capital campaign in the amount of $100,000,” Brownell was quoted as saying in a recent Journal article.

At the announcement of the tremendous gift, UPAWS leaders tell us the crowd stood and cheered in celebration. Brownell said she kept the secret for a month from everyone, including UPAWS Executive Director Kori Tossava, who admitted she was surprised and “humbled and honored” to receive the donation.

It was later revealed the gift had come from Mark and Christine Troudt, who stressed they didn’t want to be featured at the event because “this was to honor everyone who has been a part of helping UPAWS over the years. Our contribution is a small part of what is necessary to care for and house homeless pets.”

Certainly the Troudts must be recognized for their generosity, and we thank them for making such a great contribution to such a worthy cause. With this gift, UPAWS’s Imagine the PAWSibilities Campaign has raised almost $2.62 million of the $3.7 million goal for a new shelter.

This recent gift by the Troudts is an outstanding example of the wonderful community support UPAWS has, and we wish them luck with the rest of their campaign. We’re sure it will finish off strong, and with a lot of smiling faces.