It was a night of music, laughs, and tears.
It was a night of outlandish “Gotham-styled” costumes.
And, it was a night of surprise proposals and surprise donations.
It was the 11th annual Furry Tail Endings gala and more than $152,000 was raised (up $15,000 compared to last year) to help Langley’s homeless, abandoned and neglected animals.
Kristine Carrick, chair of the Langley Animal Protection Society (LAPS), called it an “incredible” and “awesome” night that went better than anyone could have hoped thanks to the generosity of the 450 in attendance.
“It is a really important night for LAPS and the animals,” she said, noting they raised the second largest total in the event’s history.
Part of that was credited to a surprise donation announced at Saturday night’s festivities. Township Councillor and Fort Langley developer Eric Woodward, and his newly formed foundation, committed $100,000 towards the operating costs of LAPS’ new cat intake and isolation facility during the next five years.
The first $20,000 donation is expected in spring 2019, said Carrick, expressing her gratitude for the largest single donation to LAPS.
Also helping boost the numbers for this year’s fundraising gala was the $28,866 raised in the silent auction, a further $3,950 from general donations, and $24,800 collected through the live auction segment of the evening – which ended up with three surprise items bringing in $6,300 of the total.
The live auction list featured a set of four tires and car detailing, a WestJet flight for two, a Victoria getaway, a Millionaire for a Day package, a weekend at Sun Peaks, and a sturgeon fishing excursion.
But unexpectedly added to that list was a centre-spread in the annual LAPS calendar that sold for $1,100, and not one – but two –five-course dinners for eight served by Woodward that generated another $5,200.
In addition to the surprise donations, the night was marked by an unexpected proposal. Willoughby’s Darren Sigovin called his girlfriend Katrina Koblanski to the stage near the end of the night.
During their past year together they’ve gelled as a family unit, including the addition of a cat adopted from LAPS. Before a hushed crowd, Sigovin said he wants to make their family unit more permanent. So getting down on one knee he proposed before the packed ballroom of people. And Koblanski accepted.
Many thanks dished out
Working this year with a Nightfall in Gotham theme, many people showed up in Batman-related costumes for the formal gala, explained LAPS executive director Jayne Nelson.
“This year’s theme is perfect and is so fitting for our gala,” she elaborated. “We have so many real-life heroes who help us each year. I love working at LAPS and while we are often challenged by our work, I am always so inspired by the people and animals we meet. People who are truly heroes.
“Not all superheroes wear capes,” Nelson added, noting the event grossed $152,000, and netted about $91,000 after expenses.
Speaking of heroes, there were many thanks that went out to the shelter staff and volunteers, year-round donors including local veterinarians, the event sponsors, the LAPS board of directors, and so many more on Nelson’s list.
She noted that a donor all the way from Bose, Idaho was back again for this year’s gala, acknowledging Janet Young as an gala sponsor and ongoing contributor who has been part of the LAPS family and of this event for the past four years.
But among all those recognized for outstanding contribution to the animal welfare organization, Nelson singled out a husband-and-wife team out for special recognition. Rob and Karen Hunt received the Patti Dale Award of Excellence (a.k.a. volunteer of the year).