CENTER POINT- Thirty-Six members of the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology baseball team donated their efforts on a chilly December Saturday morning (Dec. 6) to help the Exotic Feline Rescue Center (EFRC) continue progress on its facility.
The Fightin' Engineer Baseball Team helped move and assemble fencing and other materials to create new home environments for the feline inhabitants at the center.
Rose-Hulman worked directly with material that were purchased from significant donations from the Tony Stewart Foundation. The foundation for the two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion donated funds to allow purchase of the very materials that the baseball team used in the construction process.
The EFRC was founded in 1991 by Joe Taft in Center Point, with a mission of providing "permanent homes for exotic felines that have been abused, abandoned or for some reason have nowhere to live out their lives, while educating the public about these beautiful cats."
The EFRC currently contains more that 200 large cats from nearly half the nation. Last year, Rose-Hulman helped the center with work on its new food processing center is to handle more than 3,000 pounds of meat per day. nearly 21,000 visitors passed through the EFRC in 2006.
Rose-Hulman's baseball team battled temperatures in the high 20s along with snowy conditions that formed throughout the morning. The work included construction of new fences and poles to help provide homes for these felines.
"Working up close with those beautiful animals was a once in a lifetime experience. Some of the tigers actually sat and watched us build the cage. It was unreal. We were thankful for the opportunity to help the staff who have unselfishly dedicated their lives to this," Rose-Hulman junior catcher Keenan Long said.
In return for their efforts, the Engineers experienced an up-close tour of the facilities, including viewing many of the exotic felines in their natural environment.
Players donating their time for the effort included Jimmy Allen, Andrew Bilse, Nick Brady, Andrew Brooks, Will Burchett, Ken Carpenter, Tony Celebucki, Michale Cramer, Derek Dauenbaugh, Troy Eveslage, Nick Hebein, J.D. Hill, Chandler Kent, Michael Kovacs, Jared Andrew Oakley, Brock Piche, Andrew Pinkstaff, Dan Prochno, Nick Rumpke, Gannon Sadzeck,Jim Bob Schuler, Brad Seibert, David Silwanowizc, Chris Stemple, Ben Stenger, Tim Tepe, Charlie Vana, Andrew West, Kreigh Williams and B.J. Zobrist.