POINT PLEASANT — Mason County’s homeless animals received an early Christmas gift in the form of a $13,000 Claflin Grant.
The money will be used by the county to construct an outside kennel at the Mason County Animal Shelter. County Administrator John Gerlach described the project as constructing a 30-by-40 foot concrete pad with a carport type aluminum permanent cover – this construction will also include a number of five-by-10 foot kennels.
Gerlach said the project, which will likely break ground in the spring, will allow animals housed at the shelter to be in a safe, outside environment while their inside kennels are being cleaned and dry. Ultimately, this will provide a better environment for the dogs and should lead to more contented animals, according to the county’s grant application. The new outdoor kennels are not meant to be used for any permanent or extended overnight housing of animals.
On Wednesday, Gerlach accepted the $13,000 check on behalf of the county from Attorney Stephen Littlepage who administers the Robert and Louise Claflin Foundation on behalf of the Claflin estate. The couple, who lived in New Haven, left behind nearly $2.6 million which is to be used to benefit projects, groups and citizens of Mason County.
Littlepage said the foundation had been awarding grants for three years now and this year was the largest yet with nearly $80,000 awarded. The foundation also provides scholarships for seniors at all three county high schools –this year $16,000 in scholarships were awarded.
As for the foundation’s grants, the cycle begins Sept. 1 – Nov. 1. A committee, consisting of residents from across the county, helps decide what projects receive funding. Littlepage said he hopes more residents utilize the foundation’s resources so the funds can make a difference in every corner of the county.
Although Louise Claflin was a native of New Haven, Robert moved there from Massachusetts as a young man to begin a long-time career with Vanadium Corporation, also known as Foote Mineral Company. He was educated in the Northeastern University chemist program and was a financial contributor as an alumnus.
Without children of their own, the couple was said to be immersed in community and church activities – they attended New Haven Church of God. They focused on personal health and wellness, enjoyed reading and strongly believed in academic achievement in the education setting and realized the betterment of self in the classroom of life.
The couple was also devoted to the care of stray animals in the community by providing food, companionship and sometimes, shelter to cats and dogs, which makes the donation to the animal shelter fitting, to say the least.
The Claflin grants are awarded every fall in the areas of personal health/wellness, literacy, education, arts/music, animal care, health maintenance and prevention. For those wishing to find out more about the Claflin grants, call Littlepage at 304-675-1360.