Christmas came early this week for a local nonprofit agency that for many years has fought an uphill battle to provide a refuge for creatures that have no other place to call home.
The Humane Society of Saline County on Wednesday became the grateful recipient of a $41,734 gift from the Ken Young Co.
This gift represented the profits from a house Young's company recently completed in this county.
"This is the largest single cash donation the Humane Society has ever received," said Ann Sanders, president of the organization.
Sanders was so overwhelmed at the time of the presentation that she was at a loss for words.
"I just don't know what to say," she noted.
"We can do so many things with this kind of donation," she said. "I do know that one thing we'll do is host spay/neuter clinics in the Youngs' honor and be able to help many people by providing this service for their pets."
This morning, Sanders had had time to collect her thoughts and mentioned some specific needs that the donation will benefit.
"Our truck died earlier this year and we can use these funds to pay for a new one to transport animals," she said. "We also need a new computer and Internet service for the shelter."
Sanders said the society looks forward to hosting the spay/neuter clinics "in Mr. and Mrs. Young's honor. I have already been in contact with our veterinarian and we are working on setting dates in January for the first of these clinics."
"We also will be purchasing some additional equipment for our surgery room," she said.
"We can't thank Ken Young Builders, Mr. and Mrs. Young, the subcontractors and suppliers enough for this wonderful donation," Sanders added.
"This will allow us to continue to help the homeless animals during a time when so many people are having to give up their pets. It will also allow us to expand our low-cost spay/neuter services, which will help cut down on the number of homeless animals being born each year."
The Youngs expressed delight in being able to help the society. However, helping a nonprofit agency isn't a new experience for them.
Beginning in 2004, there have been several times when Ken Young decided to donate the profits from one of his home-building projects to a local agency.
"The first year I did it for the Boys & Girls Club in Benton," Young said. "It worked so well that we continued to do it for other groups."
Subsequent recipients were the Christian Community Care Clinic in 2005, Habitat for Humanity in 2006, Boys and Girls Club of Bryant in 2007, Safe Haven in 2008 and now the Humane Society in 2011.
Ken Young noted that one of his builder friends jokingly chastised him for revealing the amount of his donation to the nonprofit associations.
"People will think that we make that kind of money every time we sell a house and you know that doesn't happen," Young's friend pointed out.
"And it really doesn't," Young said. "We're thrilled to be able to give this much to the Humane Society. This group needs help, but we really don't make that kind of profit every time we sell a house."
An avowed animal lover, Young noted that he once agreed to buy a house with its two pet cats intact.
"The woman said she had to get rid of her cats because they were shedding so badly," he said.
"I asked what kind of cats she had and she said 'Himalayans,'" he said. "I told her we'll take the cats, too.
"We had them together for years at the office. Then when one of them died, the other one grieved so much for its buddy that we took him to the house where he had other friends there.
"We've still got him," he added.
Young noted that he could not have presented this latest donation to the Humane Society if it had not been for the assistance of the many subcontractors who worked on the project alongside him and his employees.
And the subcontractors also are happy to be part of such an effort, Young said. Three of those reached by phone confirmed this sentiment.
Tony Johnson of Alum Fork Woodworks, who did the cabinet work for the project, said, "Taking part in a charity home-building project is a rewarding experience."
Johnson said he has "enjoyed working with Ken for years," noting that he was also involved when Young did other charity builds.
"It's great to be in a position to be able to help people out," Johnson said. "Working for Ken makes this possible. It makes all of us feel good to do something for the community and know that what we're doing is staying right here in Saline County.
"We like to help organizations that are close to us," he added.
Another subcontractor, Duane Henderson of Duane Henderson Trim, also expressed his pleasure in being involved in this kind of effort.
"It's enjoyable to give something back to people that need it," Henderson said.
Jimmy Taylor of The Roofing Co. said he, too, found it enjoyable to help a nonprofit agency through one of Young's charity builds.
"We just enjoy doing it." Taylor said. "We like giving to something that helps somebody out. We'll be ready to do it again in the future."
Others who assisted with the latest project included:
•Ricketts Plumbing, R and R Heat & Air, Harp Excavation, Arkansas Wholesale, Arpro Painting, Absolute Landscaping, Accent Iron, Acme Brick, Applied Graphics, Aqua Glass, ATI Insulation, Bank of the Ozarks, Blind Pro, Burrow Sheetrock, Butler Seamless Gutter, Casa Blanca Granite, Charles Smith Framing, Delta Faucets.
•Fidelity Tile Co., Gilson Masonry, Green Arrow of Arkansas, Hastings Drywall, Jones Glass, Lawhon Siding, Leonard Underwood, LCL Wells Concrete, Martin Marietta Aggregates, McCauley Services, McCoy Planning Services, McDonald Fence, Metro Builders Supply, Michael Johnson Cabinets.
•Olympia Construction Products, Pro Builder Supply, Quaker Windows, R & R Sheet Metal, Heating & Air, Rheem Water Heaters, Ricketts Plumbing, Ridout Lumber, Royal Overhead Door, Sanders Supply, Southern Pipe Supply, Storey Welch Cleaning Service, The Roofing Co.,
The Woodlands LLC and Vorten's China.