Order of the Eastern Star, Amelia Chapter donates to Spencer Park Aviary after fire

Jeff Hartnady, owner of Spencer Park Aviary and Wildlife Center, on left, is presented with a $1,200 check from Dave Sexton, the grand patron of the grand chapter of Ohio, on June 25, 2018. Hartnady’s park was set on fire on Halloween in 2017.

By Brett Milam

The Amelia Order of the Eastern Star, Chapter 338, held their meeting on June 25, where they presented a check to Jeff Hartnady with Spencer Park Aviary and Wildlife Center.

Spencer Park Aviary and Wildlife Center was set on fire on Halloween in 2017, killing a few birds, with many of them flying away, and other animals burned severely.

In March, the Eastern Star raised monies from two different fish fry events.

Located on Judd Road in Amelia, the Order of the Eastern Star is like the female version of the Freemasons, doing charitable work within the community. Meetings are the second and fourth Monday every month, from January through September.

The Grand Chapter of Ohio required each Chapter to have a community outreach program, which benefits another organization in the community that needs help.

Jeni Casbar, the grand adah of the chapter, said Stevens brought the idea to the chapter and we’re like “yeah, we’ll help.” She said it was an “excellent project.”

“We help each other out. If there’s somebody in need in the chapter, we go and help them out,” Casbar said.

“Our Chapter voted on Spencer Park Aviary due to the loss of animals and habit last fall during the arson fire and most recently due to the flooding in New Richmond,” Stevens said.

The flooding wasn’t as big of an issue, Hartnady said, because that’s something they’ve long-prepared for.

“We are developing with the idea that it will flood every spring just in case,” according to their website. “During the flood season a majority of the animals will still be off exhibit in their winter homes located off-site. The enclosures and buildings are being designed and built with high water in mind and the repair and upkeep required if high water does happen.”

The check for $1,200 was to hopefully recoup some of those losses from the fire, Stevens said.

In addition to that, Hartnady said thieves and vandals have also been pernicious on the property in New Richmond. For example, the park was actually rebounding from the fire, partly, and a few months ago, they just needed Duke Energy to put electricity throughout the area.

Duke had contracted that out through Midwest Power. Hartnady said the park personally fronted all of the power and electricity equipment, like poles, wires to the tune of $25,000.

Then it was all gone, stolen in the dead of night, Hartnady said.

“Until electricity changes, no more birds,” he said.

But with the check, Hartnady said this can help turn what seems like a curse on the park around.

“Oh, it’s fabulous,” he said. “After everything we’ve been through, every step forward is two steps back. This is huge.”

One small, silver lining of sorts for the park, is the new grey fox at the park, which Hartnady said was “cool” and something the monies raised will go to as well. The fox will be a traveling, educational fox.

Those interested in donating to the park can do so through their website: http://www.spencerparkaviary.com/donate.html.

The Eastern Star’s next event is a classic car show on July 15. The Sun will update readers when it knows where that event is taking place. Jeff said he might try to bring the fox.