SOCKS marks 25 years (PHOTOS)
FORT WALTON BEACH â€” Friends and family of Save Our Cats and Kittens shelter founder Sara DeMonbrun joined local feline supporters at the shelter Wednesday evening to mark SOCKS' 25th anniversary and to unveil the Sara DeMonbrun Giving Tree.
The mural in the shelter's lobby features three famous SOCKS cats perched in a tree. People wishing to support the shelter can purchase a metal "leaf" that can be engraved with a message or memorial of their choice and placed on the tree.
With the crowd gathered outside the shelter, Cecil DeMonbrun read a statement prepared by his wife, Sara.
"I am humbled that SOCKs has become a part of the fabric of our community," DeMonbrun said. "I want to thank everyone past and present who shared my vision and give each of you a big hug and a heartfelt thanks."
The DeMonbruns then unveiled the mural to a crowd packed in the shelter's lobby before posing for photos with family and shelter volunteers.
SOCKS board President Nancy Schimmer talked about the Giving Tree and its importance to the no-kill shelter's mission of caring for and finding homes for cats and kittens.
"We are completely funded by the community and we are run by a very small staff and volunteers," Schimmer said. "Without the volunteers and community support, we would not be here."
Schimmer said SOCKS adopted out more than 400 cats last year.
"Each one of them represents a cat that will never reproduce, that's got a good home and won't contribute to the cat overpopulation problem in Okaloosa County," she said.
To find out more about the Giving Tree, how to volunteer or how to adopt a cat, visit saveourcatsandkittens.com or the shelter at 498 Carmel Drive. Hours are Monday through Friday from noon-5 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. The telephone number is (850) 863-5756.