by Tim Ajax, Director
Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary
Some people monkey around a little, some people monkey around a lot, and then there's Tim. He's a prince among primates, presiding over hundreds of fellow bipeds in the often-brutal Texas outdoors. There's no ape escape for Tim and his crew, but no matter. They love to help macaques, baboons and vervets live out their lives with as much freedom as possible. And like peeling a banana, Tim's blogs take you to the good stuff inside — with a steady supplement of Texas weather updates, of course!
We don’t often get to spend much time with our fellow human primates since most of our days are spent caring for the animals at the Sanctuary; after all, we’re greatly outnumbered! But, this past Sunday, we teamed up with legendary rock band, REO Speedwagon, for a concert that raised money for our Sanctuary primates.
Hannah Shaw, daughter of Tommy Shaw of the band Styx and Development Associate at Born Free USA, runs a charity called Rock to the Rescue, which raises funds and awareness for great non-profit organizations by giving concert-goers the opportunity to win guitars autographed by various bands. At Sunday’s concert at the beautiful Majestic Theater in downtown San Antonio, Texas, Born Free USA gave away guitar picks for a $10 donation. After hundreds of concert-goer donations, one lucky donor got to walk away with a guitar signed by REO Speedwagon! We set up a table (see photo), which beautifully displayed the signed guitar, and provided attendees with information to educate them about the Sanctuary’s work. Sanctuary staff and friends generously volunteered their Sunday evening to raise awareness, and much-needed funds, for our primates.
As if helping the monkeys wasn't enough, we were given the opportunity to stay for the entirety of the concert. We heard all of the great classic hits, and it was a real treat to see REO Speedwagon playing live at their last concert of the year (and believe me, they can still rock it).
Immediately after the concert, Hannah Shaw took the stage to announce the winner of the autographed guitar, and a runner-up was also selected to win a signed photograph. Both winners were extremely excited and grateful to Born Free USA (see photo). Neal Doughty, keyboardist and last original band member of REO Speedwagon, even remarked to Hannah backstage, “Born Free USA has it right. Stick to your cats and dogs; some animals are not meant to be pets! Wildlife belongs in the wild." We couldn’t have said it better ourselves, Neal!
I extend many thanks to our friends Mary, Faith, Sandra, Paula, Shanay, Dale, Alexandra, the staff who stayed at the Sanctuary caring for the monkeys, and especially Hannah Shaw, who coordinated this fundraising event for the Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary—the first of many— and helped everything run so smoothly. And, a special thanks to REO Speedwagon for raising awareness and donations for our Sanctuary residents. REO Speedwagon, our volunteers, and the generous concert-going donors did the monkeys proud.