The stars aligned Jan. 23 in Ponte Vedra for the benefit of local animals in need.
St. Augustine-based Ayla’s Acres No-Kill Animal Rescue presented “The M*A*S*H Gala” at The TPC Sawgrass Clubhouse, and local supporters were offered the chance to rub elbows with some of the most well-loved stars of TV.
The event was emceed by actor Ed Asner, best-known as television’s iconic Lou Grant, and featured a reunion of cast members from the award-winning television series M*A*S*H. Attending cast members included Mike Farrell (Captain B.J. Hunnicut), Jamie Farr (Corporal Maxwell Klinger), Loretta Swit (Major Margaret “Hotlips” Houlihan), and a special appearance by Gary Burghoff (Corporal “Radar” O’Reilly).
The M*A*S*H Gala also featured a silent auction and a live auction where attendees bid for encounters with cast members, such as a round of golf, brunch or dinner. The gala included a gourmet dinner and music by Gainesville’s Gosia and Ali featuring Harold Fethe. All proceeds from the M*A*S*H Gala benefited the building of Peter’s Friends Animal Resource Center’s low and no-cost spay, neuter and vaccination clinic in St. Johns County.
According to Ayla’s Acres Executive Director Fran Charlson, the M*A*S*H Gala is a once-in-a-lifetime event put together thanks to the efforts of Swit.
“Loretta has been a tireless advocate for Ayla’s Acres and our mission for several years now and for her to put in so much time to coordinate and bring her friends together to support this cause is simply monumental,” Charlson said.
Ayla’s Acres is a St. Augustine-based non-profit supporting adoption, spay and neuter, and responsible care of animals. Along with education, outreach, adoption and fostering programs, the organization maintains a 45-acre sanctuary where “unadoptable” animals may live out their lives with peace, love, and dignity. The organization launched a $2.6 million capital campaign to raise funds to build Peter’s Friends Animal Resource Center in St. Johns County. Ayla’s Acres receives no government funding, relying instead on private donations of money, supplies, and items that are sold through their thrift shop, Ayla’s Attic.
Hilton Garden Inn in Ponte Vedra Beach sponsored the fundraiser and housed Loretta Swit, Jamie Farr, Mike Farell, Gary Burghoff and Ed Asner during their stay.