OKLAHOMA CITY, May 17, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On the anniversary of the deadly EF-5 tornado that devastated the city of Moore, Oklahoma in 2013, killing dozens of people, destroying more than 1,000 homes, leaving hundreds of animals lost, frightened and hungry, American Humane Association, the country's first national humane organization and the local Kirkpatrick Foundation are teaming up to help protect Oklahoma's animals in the future.
A giant 50-foot-long animal rescue truck to help Oklahoma's animals caught in tornadoes, floods, other natural disasters and cruelty cases was unveiled at the New York Stock Exchange May 9(video available on request) and will debut on the campus of Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City on Friday, May 20 at 10:00 a.m.
The gift comes as part of the 100th anniversary of American Humane Association's animal rescue program, which was born on the battlefields of World War I Europe, rescuing 68,000 wounded horses each month, and has been a part of every major disaster relief effort from Pearl Harbor to the Great Ohio Flood of 1938, Hurricane Katrina, the Fukushima earthquake in Japan, the terror attacks on 9/11 and the tornadoes in Joplin, Missouri and Moore, Oklahoma. Following the Moore disaster, American Humane Association's Red Star® Rescue team deployed for a full month, helping to rescue, shelter, and care for hundreds of animals.
With generous funding by The Kirkpatrick Foundation and the New York-based William H. Donner Foundation, the new vehicle, which can carry lifesaving supplies and sheltering equipment for 100 animals, will be staffed with a licensed veterinarian. When deployed, American Humane Association's disaster responders and members of its national corps of volunteers will travel to disaster zones and live in it as they rescue animals. When not deployed, the vehicle will be used for rescue in cruelty and hoarding cases, and as an important teaching tool to help first responders train and prepare for disaster situations.
WHO:Randal Collins: National Director of American Humane Association's animal rescue program
Louisa McCune: Executive Director of the Kirkpatrick Foundation
Natalie Shirley: President of Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City
Dawn Assenzio: Philanthropist and member of American Humane Association's board of directors
Officials and Dignitaries: Secretary of Agriculture Jim Reese, City of Moore Fire Chief Gary Bird, State Veterinarian Rod Hall, National Weather Center's Rick Smith (warning coordination meteorologist), Oklahoma Governor David Walters, Interim dean of OSU veterinary college Chris Ross, and more to be announced
Patrick Gibson: Country music star providing entertainment
Olivia Kay: Singing the national anthem
Dogs: Lutheran Golden Retriever Comfort Dog from Edmond, Oklahoma; Bella Foundation on site with three adoptable dogs; two New Leash on Life therapy dogs; two Oklahoma City Fire Department rescue dogs
WHERE & WHEN Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City CampusFriday May 20 at 10:00 a.m.
900 N. Portland Ave Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73107
**BARBECUE LUNCH and REFRESHMENTS TO BE SERVED DIRECTLY AFTERWARDS
NEWS, PHOTO & INTERVIEW OPS WITH HUMAN & ANIMAL VIPs VIDEO AVAILABLE
"At Kirkpatrick Foundation, we are committed to improving the quality of life for all animals in our state," said Louisa McCune, executive director of the Kirkpatrick Foundation. "In fact, by the year 2032, we want Oklahoma to become the best place in the United States – and the world over – to be an animal. Our first grant to American Humane Association helped defray costs of their rescue efforts in the aftermath of the 2013 tornadoes. We then began working with them on a larger, more visionary effort to help make Oklahoma City a pacesetter in animal rescue. With this vehicle and American Humane Association's new relationship with OSU-OKC, Oklahoma will become a regional leader for all disasters requiring immediate rescue care for animals. National and state experts in animal rescue working in unison with public safety officers will help advance animal and human welfare in the state."
"OSU-Oklahoma City is honored to house American Humane Association's newest animal rescue vehicle on our campus," said Natalie Shirley, president of OSU-Oklahoma City. "The vehicle's mission aligns with our university's commitment to improve and advance animal care by educating some of the best veterinarian technicians in the country. OSU-OKC's acclaimed vet tech program transforms students' passion for animals into rewarding careers that not only benefit our graduates, but the animals they treat."
"This new rescue vehicle is a major investment in America's animals and families," said Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane Association. "It is specifically designed and outfitted to provide a wide array of animal emergency services and will be a beacon of hope for communities reeling from disasters. This strengthening of our nation's emergency operations is a great gift and we thank the Kirkpatrick Foundation, the William H. Donner Foundation, Oklahoma State University and all those in this effort who care about the most vulnerable in times of greatest need."