The 13th Lewyt Humane Awards Luncheon
Honors Generosity, Supports Bianca’s Furry Friends, and
Three generous and dedicated North Shore Animal League America supporters — Richard Murray, Karen LaRocca, and Petplan Pet Insurance — found themselves sharing the spotlight with kittens and high fashion, during our 13th Lewyt Humane Awards Luncheon on Wednesday, June 18th.
Hosted by spokesperson and volunteer Beth Stern, the event attracted more than 300 guests to Leonard’s Palazzo, in Great Neck, N.Y. Longtime advocate of the League’s no-kill philosophy, Real Estate Executive and Philanthropist Sandra Atlas Bass, who has always had a special interest in cat rescue, chaired the luncheon.
So given Mrs. Bass’s passion for cats — plus the fact that the net proceeds from the luncheon will support the development of Bianca’s Furry Friends Feline Wellness & Adoption Center — it came as no surprise that the theme of the day was decidedly feline.
First picture the cat equivalent of Cirque de Soleil — four kittens rollicking, stalking, and pouncing, safely ensconced in an ingenious multi-level cat enclosure — and you have a pretty good idea of the entertainment for the guests during the cocktail reception.
Now imagine a bevy of cat-eyed human beauties pouting and floating their way down the catwalk, moving sylph-like in the flowing haute couture of top designer Marc Bouwer. That was the luncheon entertainment.
As the day’s host and, with her husband, Howard, a prime mover behind Bianca’s Furry Friends, Beth spoke with great respect and affection for the event’s honorees. “This event honors those who have chosen to dedicate their time and resources to helping improve the lives of homeless animals around the country,” she said. “And I could not be happier to participate in such an event.”
Jill Burkhardt, Vice President of Major Gifts, introduced Richard Murray, recipient of the second Sandra Atlas Bass Philanthropist of the Year Award, praising his devotion to animal rescue and his many philanthropic efforts. Jill explained that his generous spirit has long been an enormous blessing for homeless, abused, and neglected animals, beginning decades ago when, as a young man, he adopted a stray off the streets of Vienna shortly after World War II. Mr. Murray was also honored for his support of those who work to rescue all innocent creatures who depend on us for survival.
Senior Vice President of Operations, Joanne Yohannan presented the Spirit of Compassion Award to Karen LaRocca for her lifesaving dedication. Joanne also spoke about Karen and her late husband, Don, whose generosity built and maintained our dog park, as well as the upcoming expansion of our pet wellness services thanks to the future North Shore Animal League America Pet Wellness Center that they have so graciously donated.
“As one of our most caring, reliable and thoughtful volunteers, Karen LaRocca has generously given her time to the animals — and the people — at North Shore Animal League America since October 1998,” said Joanne, adding, “It is a great honor, my dear friend, to present you with our 2014 Spirit of Compassion Award. No one I know deserves it more.”
Dr. Mark Verdino, Vice President and Chief of Staff of the Alex Lewyt Medical Center, presented the Outstanding Corporate Supporter Award to Petplan Pet Insurance, which has made compassion for shelter animals a major part of its corporate mission. In 2011, Petplan was selected as our exclusive pet insurance provider. Together we offer an introductory policy that helps League Mutt-i-grees and adopters make a smooth and healthy transition, thanks to 30 days of complimentary insurance. Steve Shell accepted the award on behalf of Petplan, and then presented North Shore Animal League America with a generous check.
And just to make the day a true League event, three Mutt-i-grees found new homes: two puppies and a kitten. It was designer Marc Bouwer who scooped up one of those antic felines. Marc previously adopted Tallulah, one of our Maltese mill rescues.
“Animals are my passion,” says Marc. “I grew up around cats and dogs. I want people to be aware that adopting an animal is something that you have to do. We need to save them, not to buy them from a store like you would a toy.”
It was a lovely afternoon filled with kittens and couture, as we gathered to honor three generous and dedicated supporters of North Shore Animal League America. Here is a glimpse of the beauty that was on display.
Images courtesy of Lori Cannava Photography
Sandra Atlas Bass
In Memory of Gertrude J.B. Barron
Loveable Lola Inc,
Ann Nasary Ministries