The Friends of Washington County Animals Foundation fundraiser: My turn to criticize
Photos by Karen Sharkey

I’m an opinion writer. I expect criticism. It really doesn’t matter what your profession or position in life. You will be criticized, so I’m taking Eleanor Roosevelt’s advice. I am going to do what I feel in my heart to be right. I will be criticized for it anyway. I’m done with trying to help people unless I know them really well and trust them. I would rather fight for animals. At least they still don’t spend their time pointing out, analyzing, and magnifying all my flaws.

I recently organized a fundraiser for Friends of Washington County Animals Foundation in hopes to help fund a new county shelter at Purgatory Correctional Facility, a great cause that I fully support. Similar models worldwide have been incredibly successful, and I haven’t spoken to one person yet who opposes the idea. All rescue groups should support this. The problem seems to be that among these groups, there are too many chiefs and not enough Native Americans. It seems that everyone has their own idea of how things should be handled, and I am going to criticize them for it. It’s my turn.

The Friends of Washington County Animals Foundation fundraiser: My turn to criticize
Josh Warburton

Some groups declined to attend at all with no explanation. Representatives from the Washington County Commission and Sheriff’s Department were unavailable. I know that there has been contention among personalities, but unless everyone agrees to disagree and focus on the common goal of getting a shelter built, it’s not going to happen. Randy Fields, CEO of the Friends of Washington County Animals Foundation, emphasized the importance of working together backed by political power. Yep. (Vote for Josh Warburton.)

I was criticized early on when it was suggested that I provide a meat-and-cheese tray for those who aren’t vegan. I think I went a little ninja over that. The theme of the fundraiser was “Celebrating all Animals.” I refused to serve them as food. I have attended countless fundraisers for animals. Some of these were galas where the charge was $60 or more per person. Often there was not a single entree that I would eat, so I didn’t eat at all.

For our event, I begged my friends, both vegan and nonvegan, for help. We ended up with the most amazing food ever. Some people weren’t able to attend the event but made food anyway. My friend Hallie Meyer stopped at the DiFiore Center on her way to the airport to help organize the food trays so they didn’t look like a random glob of stuff. She has that kind of talent, and I was fortunate to have her help.

Another criticism involved wine. I researched Utah liquor laws with the help of a friend who loves researching stuff and is good at it. I also talked with various people who hold fundraisers on a regular basis to make sure I understood. I may have even written an article as the result of my frustration! We had to be somewhat covert about advertising the event because wine was available. I was careful and appropriately sneaky. We didn’t advertise or sell alcohol. The problem was that we advertised with social media quite a bit, and people tended to add their own comments. Yikes! Overenthusiastic people can get you arrested. Fortunately, there were no incidents, no one lost control, and no one was allowed to escape with an illegal beverage. The crowd was pretty well behaved, except for the dancing. It’s difficult to listen to Latin music without a little Zumba action.

Once the event was underway, there were glitches, but there always are. I was careful to plan for short presentations, but it’s difficult to control how long others speak. Someone should invent a microphone that is activated by fingerprint recognition. This could also prove useful for karaoke. Sometimes, we had to wait for the music to be loaded, and I was trying to read some descriptions that hadn’t printed completely — my spouse’s printer’s fault. I love placing blame on inanimate objects. It makes people crazier!

The Friends of Washington County Animals Foundation fundraiser: My turn to criticize
Mike and Maxine

There was also the lack of shelter animals that the models were supposed to be walking. Apparently, there was another event earlier in the day, and the animals were tired, and all the volunteers went home in spite of the fact that I had been planning the event for months and had arranged for the animals ahead of time.

Because of the glitches, the event was a bit long. People were anxious to leave. Apparently, they had other plans. However, I planned for a three-hour event, building in a social hour for the first hour because I knew that we would need that hour to get organized. The event lasted three hours as planned, so I don’t understand why those planning for an evening out felt the need to leave as soon as possible. This is not a unique problem. I’ve seen it happen many times. We now seem to have a 30-second attention span and feel the need to move on as soon as possible. Maybe it’s too difficult to sit that long without texting or tweeting. Or, maybe 9 p.m. is too late for some. I don’t know, but it makes it pretty damned difficult to plan any kind of event. This is major frustration for me. I can’t even get my own children to commit to a schedule when I drive over 300 miles for a visit. What’s with that? I keep thinking that they are waiting for a better offer.

I was happy with the outcome of the event but would hesitate to do it again. The weather was great, the food was fantastic, and I think everyone had fun and learned something. We also got some great media coverage and made a bit of money, so I achieved my goal. It’s just that the criticism is getting old, and I’m old. Just saying.

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