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September 24, 2005 - Puttin' on the Max, a Waggin' Good Time

What: Dinner, awards, auction and pet parade

Where: Four Points by Sheraton Denver Southeast,

When: September 24, 2005

Time: 5:30 PM

Ticket Prices: $175/couple; $90/individual

Beneficiary: MaxFund Animal Adoption Center

EMCEE: Scott Mace (morning meteorologist from Channel 7) and his wife Melanie Garrett (local traffic reporter)

Founders: Dr. William (Bill) Suro and Mrs. Nanci Suro

Executive Director: Nanci Suro

President(s): Tony Willemse (MaxFund President)

Staff: Shelter staff: Dorothy Borrusch, Lucy Beckman, Steve Pacheco, Teresa Porter, Jenny McKillop, Joanie Fisher, Tricia Ortega, Abraham Mares, Eddie Mares, Lidia Compuzano and Hermi Tlaxcalteco. Clinic Staff: Dr. Scott Hoffman, Shane Aukema, Heidi Hahn, Dr. Doug Amy, Katie Kincaid and Dr. Beth Watts

Welcome: Dr. William (Bill) Suro

Catering: Four Points by Sheraton Denver Southeast

Entertainment: Miriam Paisner and Mary Hagler performed a traditional hula dance and then judged an audience hula dance contest

Of note: Chris Wheeler from High Noon Productions premiered “A Day in the Life of MaxFund” video

Auctioneer: Scott Mace and Melanie Garrett

Attendance: 180

Attire: Black tie to business casual to Hawaiian attire

Florist: Centerpieces were dog and cat shaped topiaries with fresh white leis around their necks (leis were shipped in directly from Hawaii)

Planning Committee: Nanci Suro, Tricia Ortega, Elizabeth Grice, Susan Berry, Donna Cashen, Josefa Edwards

Board of Directors: Dr. William (Bill) Suro, Tony Willemse, Elizabeth Grice, Susan Berry, Phyllis Eveleigh, Janice Eckhardt

Blacktie Photos by: Marcelo Mainzer


 Maxfund Founder Dr. William Suro with President & CEO Tony Willemse
Maxfund Founder Dr. William Suro with President & CEO Tony Willemse

Marcelo Mainzer

“Animals are reliable, many full of love, true in their affections, predictable in their actions, grateful and loyal. Difficult standards for people to live up to.” Quoted by Alfred A. Montapert.

It all started with one dog, Max, and two people, Bill and Nanci Suro in 1988. A young woman found a dog with two broken legs left by the side of the road and brought him to the local veterinarian. Dr. Suro didn’t hesitate to treat this patient with questions of who would pay the considerable expense of his extensive orthopedic surgeries. “Despite all the pain and discomfort from multiple surgeries and a long period of physical therapy and rehabilitation, Max never lost his amazing attitude. He quickly became a favorite of staff and clients alike. A fish bowl was placed on the front desk for donations towards Max's hospital bill. The sign on the fish bowl said "The Max Fund." Wonderful things sometimes start in small ways.

The MaxFund mission is simple; it was established to provide medical care for injured pets with no known owners, and to seek out new homes for these animals once they have recovered. The MaxFund is a true no-kill shelter. There is no pre-sorting of animals into "adoptable" and "non-adoptable" categories, discarding the so-called "unadoptable." The MaxFund takes every animal it has the space for.

Every animal is kept until its owner is found or it is placed in a new adoptive home. The Wellness Center is a low-cost veterinary clinic that offers most services including vaccination, spay/neuter, heartworm, examination and treatment, orthopedic surgery, dental, blood work, x-rays. In the years since 1988 “Max Fund” has out grown the fishbowl and the donors and sponsors are not only the veterinary staff but also people and organizations from all over the Front Range.

On September 24th the MaxFund held its annual “Puttin' on the Max” event and the draw included Dandy Dogs and Fancy Felines, and a few people as well. This year the outpouring of community support was evident from the hundreds of items in the silent auction, so many in fact that they were divided into sections, including a jewelry, gift certificate, art items, gift basket and of course pet gift sections.

The event was held at Four Points by Sheraton Denver Southeast which has seen many a wonderful event. Guests included the whole Grice Family including Barrie, Sue and Austin and Elizabeth Grice who is on the Board of Directors. Attorney Barry Rothman, Tom and Anne Rinnert, M.K. Bolling, Lisa Loprino, Rhonda Cantrell, Jim and Barb Parks and Judy Cantrell were also in attendance, just to name a few.

When everyone had the opportunity to bid, and out bid, for the items of their choice they were lured into the Grand Ballroom by the sounds of Hawaiian music and the smell of the wonderful meal, prepared by the Sheraton. First to address and welcome guests was MaxFund Founder Dr. William Suro.

Dr. Suro spoke in a voice whose quality and timbre bespoke decades of bedside manner in reassuring both animals and the partners. Dr. Suro then introduce the Emcees Scott Mace and Melanie Garrett who both work at Denver’s Channel 7, Scott as a Meteorologist and Melanie as an Assignment Reporter. The couple, recently arrived from California, spoke of their love of animals and even went so far as to show a picture of their friend Norman, the cat.

MaxFund President & CEO Tony Willemse began with, “Every year it has been my honor to recognize a few of the many volunteers who so unselfishly give of their time.” The Volunteer Appreciation Awards this year went to Amy Ahonen, a teacher with the Denver Public Schools, who served at the shelter for 6-7 hours daily helping in the front office, finding homes for some of the bully breeds and nursing back to health some very ill dogs.

Cindy and Bill Jarrell who, from their Westminster PetSmart store, have found homes for over 200 cats and treated the animals in their own home if they became sick. Lori Moss for handling smaller events and appearing on Channel 7 with animals up for adoption. Scott Rupp a weekend regular volunteer at the shelter, who helped to find homes for bully breeds. The last award winner was Jan Eckhart, who took charge of the washing of all shelter and clinic blankets so the animals had a clean, soft place to rest. Jan also fosters kittens that are too young for adoption.

To show the volunteers how important and valuable their volunteer services are, some special guests made an appearance. Bully breeds Terra and Erica wove through the crowd, Rusty made a statement by leaving his mark, Jake the Terrier smiled his approval, big Bear was a study in unconditional love, Spike pranced and danced, Chachito the Chihuahua kept his attention on Amy Ahonen, while Sam the Sheepdog strutted his stuff and Lincoln the kitten kept his dignity as cats will do. When the special guests had departed the attendees were treated to the premiered a video from High Noon Productions “A Day in the Life of MaxFund.”

To handle the live auction Scott and Melanie teamed up and roused supporters to bid on items including a Broncos Sports Package, a DCPA package that included tickets to “A Flea in Her Ear”, a Ritz-Carlton Club Weekend in Bachelor Gulch, Paul McCartney Concert Tickets and a Foursome Round of Golf at Sanctuary in Sedalia. In a touching show of dedication many of the bidders were staff and volunteers of MaxFund. Two notable bidders were Dr. Edward Umlauf and Dr. James Dixon who have contributed thousands of dollars of their time to the work of MaxFund.

Closing out the evening in keeping with the Hawaiian, Miriam Paisner and Mary Hagler performed a traditional hula dance and then judged an audience hula dance contest. Many attendees donned grass skirts and joined in the fun.

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