Touched by Saints

posted November 15th, 2009 by
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By Mike Nobles

I AM NOT A PARTICULARLY religious person and so it is with some hesitation that I am writing this difficult-to-explain turn of events that has had a profound effect on my life. This is how it happened, a true story. You be the judge.

My wife and I have been actively involved in various stages of animal rescue work since our involvement in the animal rescue side of the Hurricane Katrina disaster. We spent time in both Louisiana and Mississippi, part of the time living in a tent, volunteering with Best Friends Animal Sanctuary at its makeshift shelters in Tylertown, MS., and New Orleans, LA. From there we began doing volunteer work for animal rescue groups in our area, primarily in Washington and Tulsa County.

During our volunteer work we have come into contact with some folks that are more than a little unusual. To say they are Saints may not do them justice, perhaps Angels would be a more accurate description? You decide.

For example, how to explain the businessman from Tulsa who contributed over one-half of the cost of a new Ford E250 Cargo Van to be used by the Oklahoma Alliance for Animals in their animal rescue efforts? Not only have I never met him personally, but he has never tried to get any publicity for his efforts, and in fact will not even let me buy him lunch! Speaking of contributions, there is a lady in Tulsa who helped with a five- figure contribution and called to say if we needed more just to let her know. Combined with the myriad contributions ranging from $5 to $1,000, it all added up to a debt-free vehicle for animal rescue efforts. We call it the Wheels of Hope.

Or how about the husband and wife team from the Haskell area that not only contributed to the van project but have also contributed substantial amounts to pay expert witnesses in animal cruelty court cases and to rewards posted to entice witnesses to come forward in animal abuse and cruelty cases.

How about the lady from Tulsa that has repeatedly paid all of the expenses involved in transporting animals from Tulsa and Bartlesville to Colorado where they have an excellent chance of being adopted.
These are the same animals that face a bleak future, perhaps death, if they remain in Oklahoma. She has never demurred payment even when expenses were skyrocketing due to high gasoline prices.

What to say about the writer from Moab, Utah, that not only made a monetary contribution but helped with our fund raising efforts with editing and other technical chores that required her special expertise.
She has never even been to Tulsa.

The car dealer who has offered to provide the necessary routine maintenance for the Wheels of Hope “as long as we keep driving” is one of those that walk the walk when needed.

There are more, many more. They range from the night clerk at a Flying J Truck Stop in Salina, Kansas, who provided us with much needed paper towels early one morning at no charge; to the night clerk at the Comfort Inn in Goodland, Kansas, who reduced our nightly room charge upon learning of our mission…without asking. There are also a number of lawyers that have provided funds and legal advice, including a group of law students at The University of Tulsa called Paw Laws, who are truly going to be an asset to their profession. One can’t forget the volunteers, 18 and counting, who have signed up to drive the Wheels of Hope van monthly from Tulsa to Denver, a 12 hour all-night trip, with a load of dogs to be delivered to the Dumb Friends Animal Shelter as part of the Denver Transfer Program. They hail from Tulsa, Broken Arrow, Ft. Gibson, Oklahoma City, McAlester and Watts, Oklahoma. I call them our “A” team and they will make you proud.

How about the pet sitters from Tulsa and Texas that have stayed with our animals while we made transport trips and who refused to take any money for their efforts?
A geographic list of contributors ranges from Washington, DC, to Topeka, Kansas and Longmont, Colorado; from Poteau, Oklahoma to Little Rock, Arkansas; from Spavinaw, Oklahoma to Oklahoma City, Bartlesville, Tulsa, and Broken Arrow – the list goes on and on.

Do you recognize these folks? Not likely. I have not provided names because these caring souls are not interested in publicity. That’s not their style. They volunteer their time and resources because they care about not only the animals that are so in need but also because they genuinely care about the community and are willing to step up to make it a little better place to live. You don’t read or hear about them often, sometimes never. At a time when it seems like all of the news is about selfish, unscrupulous, narcissistic, what’s-in-it-for-me individuals and organizations, it is often easy to overlook or take for granted those among us who make the commitments and contributions that give a community character and soul.

I have had the privilege of knowing these wonderful people that quietly and caringly, day in and day out, take time to help abused, neglected, abandoned animals whose only crime is seeking a little love and kindness. Many of these animals have literally looked evil in the face. These folks do it without any ulterior motive that I can detect and make me both proud and humble to be in their presence. They do daily what others can’t or will not do.

Saint? Angel? I don’t know for sure. I do know they have renewed my faith in humanity and changed my life in profound ways. I believe St. Francis of Assisi would recognize them immediately. He knew soul when he saw it.

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