A new twist on Valentine’s Day

-Special to T.M.N. by Kara Hackney

Looking for a new way to spend Valentine’s Day? Want to find a way to give back to
the community? Then come celebrate with the Western Plains Animal Refuge.

The “Grrrs and Prrrs Valentine Gala,” hosted by the Western Plains Animal Refuge, will be held on Saturday, Feb. 15 from 8 to 11 p.m. at the Hays Arts Center
Annex, 1010 Main St.

The event will include appetizers and drinks, as well as a dance and the chance to
win great prizes. The event is 21 to attend, and semi-formal dress is requested.
“The gala has something for everyone,” said director Brendon McCampbell, “from
great food and drinks to a dance floor with music by K10 Productions. There will
also be a photo booth and the chance to win great prizes. The best part is the amazing cause it supports.”

Tickets can be purchased at the following Hays locations: Hays Arts Center (112 E
11th), Hillside Veterinary Clinic (5250 Vine St.) and White Chocolate (810 Main St.).
The cost is $25 per person or $45 a couple.

In order to promote the upcoming Gala, a group of students will be at Wal-Mart on
Saturday, Feb. 8, from 3 to 5 p.m., collecting donations for the refuge. Anyone who donates
that day will be eligible to win a free couples ticket to the Gala.

Founded in 2006 by veterinarian Dr. Jessica Braun, the refuge began as a domestic
animal shelter and wildlife rehabilitation center in Hays. It operated through Dr.
Braun’s veterinary clinic, the Animal Health Center, until she closed her practice in
2011 to focus on other career opportunities.

This non-profit organization is now led by the elected director, McCampbell, along
with a team of volunteers. In the spring of 2013, after months of fundraising and
renovations, the refuge opened at its current location near Ellis,in  the donated
Kopfman-Petco Foundation Animal Shelter building.

“I have always loved animals and began volunteering at the refuge with Dr. Braun
when I was in high school,” McCampbell said.

Since its founding, the refuge has helped improve the lives of more than 1,500 animals.
The mission of the refuge is “to foster respect for all creatures, domestic and wild. “ The
Refuge is “dedicated to helping animals and local community by providing shelter,
foster, rehabilitation, adoption, and outreach services.”

To donate to the refuge or for more information on the organization, go to
www.westernplainsanimalrefuge.org or mail donations to 1750 130th Ave., Ellis, KS
67637. Donations are tax deductible.

To make a donation to the Gala raffle or for more information on the Gala, contact
Lexi Copeland at lexinc1224@gmail.com or 785-259-6432. You can also visit the
WPAR website or its Facebook page. The Gala also has an event page on Facebook
titled “Grrrs and Prrrs Valentine Gala.”

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