Wash­ing­ton

Rappahannock News - - WASHINGTON - [email protected]­news.com; 675-3338 JAN CLAT­TER­BUCK

Gary and Michelle are go­ing, their cause car­ries on

Like many of you, I heard over the past few weeks that Gary and Michelle Schwartz would be mov­ing from town. I gave Michelle a call last week and we chat­ted for a while and, sad to say, they will be leav­ing us. For me, it's like say­ing good­bye to a mem­ber of the fam­ily.

They have been res­i­dents of the town since 2002, have de­cided to re­lo­cate to the Outer Banks. This comes as a re­sult of a re­cent di­ag­no­sis of a se­ri­ous med­i­cal con­di­tion af­fect­ing Gary’s im­mune sys­tem. The con­di­tion, re­laps­ing poly­chon­dri­tis, is a very rare au­toim­mune dis­ease in which the body at­tacks its own car­ti­lage.

Since both are con­cerned cit­i­zens and an­i­mal lovers, their in­volve­ment in the com­mu­nity has in­cluded Gary serv­ing on the town coun­cil since 2009, most re­cently as vice mayor, and also serv­ing as the chair­man of the plan­ning com­mis­sion since 2003. His most ob­vi­ous con­tri­bu­tions were re­lated to the town’s in­fra­struc­ture im­prove­ments, in­clud­ing the waste­water and wa­ter sys­tems. For sev­eral years, Michelle served as sec­re­tary of the Town’s Ar­chi­tec­tural Re­view Board.

To­gether, they helped cre­ate the Fe­line Spay & Neuter Fund sup­ported by their “Cause for Paws” an­nual raf­fle since 2006. When the town’s Main Street speed­ing is­sue arose among the res­i­dents, they also cham­pi­oned the ef­fort to get a four-way stop sign in­stalled at the cor­ner of Porter and Main streets.

Gary and Michelle de­scribe their de­ci­sion to move as “bit­ter­sweet.” They are sad to leave their friends in Rap­pa­han­nock County but also ex­cited to be able to live at the beach in what was to be their “fu­ture re­tire­ment” home. But, as Gary says, their fu­ture is now.

Mean­while, ac­cord­ing to Michelle, the Cause for Paws Raf­fle to ben­e­fit the RappCats spay and neuter fund is kick­ing off dur­ing the 2016 Rap­pa­han­nock County Farm Tour and Fes­ti­val this com­ing week­end. Raf­fle tick­ets will re­main on sale the Artists Stu­dio and Gallery Tour Nov. 5-6, and will end with a draw­ing on Sun­day, Nov. 6. Tick­ets can also be pur­chased through the RappCats web­site (rappcats.org), at the RappCats Adop­tion Cen­ter in Flint Hill or from RappCats vol­un­teers.

Tick­ets are $5 (or five for $20) and prizes in­clude a pack­age for two in­clud­ing din­ner at The Inn at Lit­tle Wash­ing­ton and a one-night stay at the Mid­dle­ton Inn, one of a hand­ful of FourDi­a­mond Inns in the U.S. Only 500 tick­ets will be sold so the odds of win­ning are very good and for a very good cause. The tick­ets and prizes were do­nated, so 100 per­cent of the pro­ceeds ben­e­fit the RappCats fund.

The Cause for Paws raf­fle was cre­ated in 2006 by Michelle and Gary in mem­ory of Toby, their res­cued cat and a guest fa­vorite who was killed by a mo­torist on Main Street. The Schwartzes de­cided to turn the sad ex­pe­ri­ence into some­thing pos­i­tive by cre­at­ing the raf­fle in mem­ory of Toby. “Know­ing that there were hu­mane in­di­vid­u­als in the county who res­cued cats but couldn’t af­ford to spay or neuter them,” Gary says, “we orig­i­nally worked with RAWL in cre­at­ing a Fe­line Spay & Neuter Fund.” The raf­fle now ben­e­fits RappCats, a non­profit pri­vately sup­ported or­ga­ni­za­tion, work­ing very

hard with no gov­ern­ment fund­ing, to help the stray, abused, aban­doned and un­wanted cats of Rap­pa­han­nock County. Ap­prox­i­mately $17,000 has been raised since 2006 and, as a re­sult, hun­dreds of cats have been spayed and neutered.

It has meant a lot for Michelle and Gary to turn their neg­a­tive ex­pe­ri­ence into some­thing that pos­i­tively ben­e­fits an­i­mals in the county and to con­trib­ute to RappCats. “We truly be­lieve that if every­one makes an ef­fort to spay and neuter, it will help con­tinue to re­duce the un­wanted cat pop­u­la­tion in the county,” says Michelle. To those who don’t con­sider them­selves to be cat lovers, she adds, “Please pur­chase a raf­fle ticket and help us con­trol the cat pop­u­la­tion. It will make your dog and the song­birds of Rap­pa­han­nock very, very happy!”

Gary and Michelle, you both have done so much for the town of Wash­ing­ton, and will be missed dearly. We will al­ways cher­ish the good mem­o­ries of you both and hold them close to our hearts. I wish you both the best of luck in North Carolina.

CON­DO­LENCES

Con­do­lences go out to the fam­ily of Bessie Ellen Nor­man, 83, of Woodville. She passed away on Mon­day (Sept. 19) at Brook­side Re­hab and Nurs­ing Cen­ter in War­ren­ton.

I have known Bessie for years, a dear friend of mine. When she would come in the of­fice to re­new her sub­scrip­tion, we talked about the good times. She would call and asked how my girls was do­ing and would talk about her sons and grand­kids who she loved so much.

Bessie, here a poem in your mem­ory by Johnny Depp:

May the wind al­ways be at your back, and the sun al­ways upon your face, and may the wings of des­tiny carry you aloft to dance with the stars.

I know you are smil­ing down on this earth. You are with your hus­band, Daniel. May you both rest in peace, my friends.

A funeral ser­vice will be held 11 a.m. Satur­day (Sept. 24) at Found and Sons Funeral Chapel with Rev. John Lines and Rev. Paul Hawkins of­fi­ci­at­ing. In­ter­ment will fol­low in Fairview Ceme­tery. A time of fel­low­ship will be held at the Amissville fire hall im­me­di­ately fol­low­ing the burial.

RE­TIRED TEACH­ERS AS­SO­CI­A­TION

The Rap­pa­han­nock County Re­tired Teach­ers As­so­ci­a­tion (RCRTA) re­cently held their first meet­ing of this year. The busi­ness por­tion was fol­lowed by a most in­ter­est­ing pro­gram on Wag­gin' Hearts Ther­apy Dogs pre­sented by Sally Petty and her dog, El­lie. There is a need for spe­cial dogs and their han­dlers to visit nurs­ing homes, re­hab cen­ters, hos­pi­tals, and as­sisted liv­ing fa­cil­i­ties in the area. More in­for­ma­tion is avail­able wag­gin­heart­s­ther­a­py­dogs.org.

Mem­ber­ship in RCRTA is open to re­tired in­di­vid­u­als who have worked in a school set­ting, in­clud­ing cafe­te­ria staff, bus driv­ers, school nurses, teach­ers and ad­min­is­tra­tors. The group do­nates funds and sup­plies to sev­eral or­ga­ni­za­tions. In ad­di­tion, there is a schol­ar­ship avail­able to lo­cal high school se­niors. Since 2012, $7,000 has been dis­trib­uted to stu­dents who are in­ter­ested in study­ing to be teach­ers, said Carolyn McDow­ell.

The group will gather three more times this year with the next meet­ing to be held 10 a.m. Nov. 14 at Wash­ing­ton Bap­tist Church. The pro­gram at 11 a.m. hon­ors Vet­er­ans Day and is open to all who may be in­ter­ested. Con­tact Linda Bros­gol at 540-635-2783 for more in­for­ma­tion.

Have a won­der­ful week!

COUR­TESY PHOTO

Good­bye Gary and Michelle Schwartz, headed to the Outer Banks.

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