CO-FOUNDER OF RED CREEK, MORRIE KATZ
Morrie met our founder, Peggy, in 1999.
Together they became an inseparable team working together to rescue wildlife and professionalize Red Creek Wildlife Center.
Footprints ~~ by Peggy Hentz
Each person leaves a mark on this earth. Some are lightly sketched and, like footprints in the sand, will fade quickly. Other imprints are
profound and lasting, as if engraved in stone and can be seen for many generations. These are the marks that can change the world, or at least a part of it.
On May 7th, 2013 Red Creek’s co-founder, Morrie Katz, passed from this earth following a two year battle with esophageal cancer. His marks, however, are still seen and heard by all who call or visit. Whether it is his calming voice on the answering machine instructing callers how to safely contain and transport an animal, or his narration of the on-line courses Red Creek offers to wildlife rehabilitators nationwide, he is still instructing and helping on a daily basis.
His presence is also felt during our education programs. Hannibal the turkey vulture spreads his wings to their full glory and lifts his
head in pride, a display trained and gently encouraged by Morrie over many years. Children seeing this giant bird with the regal pose
suddenly recognize its true beauty, instilling a desire to protect and preserve the creatures of this planet, even the ones once thought as unattractive.
Liberty the European starling sits in Red Creek’s greeting area repeating phrases in a deep robotic voice. “Hi, I’m a Starling. My name’s Liberty, Welcome to Red Creek, Make a donation, I’m an invasive species, Feed me a fly.” The voice is Morrie’s, who spent many weeks and hours working with Liberty. His repertoire entertains and delights and elicits the occasional donation. But his most important impact is on a child who is tearfully reluctant to surrender a foundling baby animal. Suddenly that child is enchanted and comforted to leave their precious creature at the special place where even the birds talk to you.
Because technology will fail and animals will grow old, these are the
fleeting footprints that for a time bring a sad smile to those who dearly loved him. These fading footprints will also ease the way to the next era for Red Creek, an era filled with the more permanent engravings left behind.
Red Creek itself, its organization and missions, first began as a part-time animal rescue with no vision of the future except to help the next animal that came through the door. Morrie was the driving force to professionalize the rescue, and we worked together to develop and create Red Creek Wildlife Center, Inc. an organization that had the potential to grow into something lasting and valuable. That organization thrives today and reaches well beyond our original mission of rescuing wildlife. By training others to become wildlife rehabilitators, Red Creek is now helping countless numbers of wild animals that never grace our own doors.
And our hopes of carrying this work into the future are also being realized. Through the young people who work at Red Creek, young people who have made our mission their own and are preparing to take the reins in hand, Red Creek promises to continue long after Morrie’s and my work is done. It is here that Morrie has left his most profound footprints — in the hearts of those who will come after us, footsteps laid by example – by living a life of compassion, passion and commitment to the broken wild creatures that suffer today and tomorrow, and find their way to Red Creek.
As the director of development Morrie helped the organization grow from a small, part-time animal rescue to the successful wildlife rehabilitation learning center it is today.
Often recognized holding Hannibal, the Turkey Vulture, Morrie was a frequent speaker at public wildlife programs, school assemblies and scouting groups where he taught about the virtues of all wildlife and their need of protection.
Morrie managed the Red Creek emergency hot line and counseled the public during emergencies 24 hours a day.
He helped developed the book Rescuing Wildlife, A Guide to Injured and Orphaned Animals and narrated many of the online classes for wildlife rehabilitators offered by Red Creek.