A big boost: Besse Foundation donates $450,000 to shelter project

ESCANABA – The relocation of the Delta Animal Shelter is one large step closer to reality thanks to a generous donation from the John and Melissa Besse Foundation.

The foundation has donated $450,000 to the animal shelter for its new 7,400 square-foot facility being constructed on County Road 426 in Wells Township, which will be named the John and Melissa Besse Pet Adoption Center in their honor.

The center’s goal is to provide a safer, more comfortable, and more community-based adoption facility with resources for all animal lovers.

The John and Melissa Besse Pet Adoption Center will be large enough to house approximately 100 animals at once and include socialization rooms for animals to be outside of cages, a bathing room to properly groom animals, and a procedure room to provide medical care for animals in need.

Bids for the project will be released in mid-February with construction tentatively slated to begin in the middle of April, according to shelter manager Susan Gartland. The shelter then hopes to move into the new facility in the fall.

“A community can be judged by the way it treats its animals,” commented Gartland, citing a famous quote by Ghandi. “We believe this is our core mission, to do whatever is needed for the animals and animal lovers in this community.”

The foundation’s generous donation will ensure animals in this area will have a caring voice for years to come, she added.

In addition to their generous donation, the John and Melissa Besse Foundation will donate one dollar for every dollar donated by others for the new shelter, up to a total of $150,000.

These funds will be used for interior fixtures, equipment and supplies.

“All of us at the Delta Animal Shelter are very proud and humbled to be a part of the John and Melissa Besse legacy that continues to live on here in Delta County,” said Gartland. “We encourage all animal lovers in this area to accept the matching fund donation offer and consider making a donation to help fund this building project for the local animals who desperately need a safe shelter.”

Greg Besse, president of the John and Melissa Besse Foundation, expressed his honor to provide a donation to the shelter on behalf of his mother and father.

“Both of my parents had a strong belief in giving back to the community in which they lived and worked in for over 40 years,” he said. “The John and Melissa Besse Foundation was established in order to carry on their goodwill after their passing. The Besse children and grandchildren will continue to support the needs of the community as both Melissa and John wished.”

Some past major recipients of the John and Melissa Besse Foundation include OSF St. Francis Hospital, Bay College, the Bonifas Arts Center, and Bishop Noa Home. In Marquette, the foundation has generously donated to the Marquette General Hospital’s cancer center, Beacon House, Catholic Diocese, and Bay Cliff Health Camp.

For more information on donating to the new animal shelter facility, visit www.deltaanimal.org or contact Gartland at 789-0230.

For more on the John and Melissa Besse Foundation, visit www.John-Melissa-BesseFoundation.org.