Some say you have to be alive on this earth to have a birthday. I respectfully disagree. We celebrate the birthdays of certain famous people centuries after they are gone. Why not also celebrate the birthdays of people who are not particularly famous, but who have nevertheless left an indelible mark on our lives?
Tuesday, June 6, 2017 will be Greg’s 54th birthday – and I am planning to celebrate that day in a really special way, with an evening happy hour in Greenwich Village, just steps from the spot where he and I met back in 1991. I have sent invitations to friends and colleagues who I know to be based around New York City – and I look forward to spending that special evening with many of you.
For friends in the Washington DC area, I am hosting two open houses at my new Maryland horse farm, on the afternoons of Sunday, June 11 and Saturday, June 17.
If you want to come to any of these events and haven’t yet received the information, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whether or not you can come celebrate with me in person, I would absolutely love a birthday present for Greg in the form of a donation to this Fund that bears his name.
Greg’s off-the-charts energy, generosity, and compassion were well known to his friends and colleagues alike – as expressed in a series of reminiscences I posted last fall, and in tribute transcripts I have recently posted from his December 6, 2015 memorial.
In our personal time together over 24 years, Greg channeled so much of his spirit toward helping animals. Over and over, he stretched beyond his comfort zone and inspired me to join him – whether to rescue an individual homeless horse, dog, or cat; to make the case for veganism to a group of skeptical associates; or to spend long hours working our land to make it more hospitable for wildlife. My own tribute at Greg’s memorial, and that of our friend Daphna Nachminovitch, recalled all of this in more detail.
I am incredibly proud of what I have been able to accomplish since establishing the Gregory J. Reiter Memorial Fund on Earth Day 2016, to carry forward Greg’s legacy of making this world a better place for human as well as non-human animals. I’ve posted detailed reports on Greg Fund work to date, and plan to post a full report on Q2 2017 progress in early July. Meanwhile, a few recent highlights:
– Representing the Greg Fund as a partner of the PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) Cruelty in Horse Racing campaign, I had the privilege of appearing on Washington DC’s WJLA ABC7 / News Channel 8 on Kentucky Derby day, May 6, 2017, to raise awareness about widespread racehorse abuse. In my ten-minute spot on The Pet Show with Dr. Katy Nelson, I shared the story of Greg’s life, of the Fund, and of my rescued racehorse Charlie. Interview transcript here; video part 1 here and part 2 here.
– PETA’s Cruelty Investigations Department – Community Animal Project has selected the recipient of the second annual Gregory J. Reiter Animal Rescue Award, and I am really honored and excited by the choice. Stay tuned for that announcement later this month!
– Through the Greg Fund’s partnership with the Animal Place Food for Thought program, we were able to further enhance support for environmental and wildlife organizations that adopt vegan or vegetarian menu policies, by setting up a grant program in Greg’s name. The first grant recipient, Colorado Native Bird Care and Conservation, was announced on May 18 – and more grant applications are in process.
– The Greg Fund became a strategic partner of the White Coat Waste Project to stop taxpayer-funded animal experiments. The dynamic WCW team just secured its second federal audit in 90 days on NIH-funded animal testing, successfully working with some of the most influential U.S. Senators and Representatives across the political spectrum.
– Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary, in Poolesville, MD, played a special role in my life with Greg – and their spring 2017 newsletter included a special dedication to him. In the past year, I have spent more time at Poplar Spring than anywhere else except my own little horse farm, volunteering weekly to assist with animal care. This spring, the Greg Fund made a donation to Poplar Spring to help with vet bills and with purchase of feed and hay.