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Gulf Winds hopes to help wildlife after oil spill

Gulf Winds Federal Credit Union is asking area residents to assist in a matching donation to help wildlife in the aftermath of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Gulf Winds has committed $50,000 in a matching donation fund to assist the Wildlife Sanctuary of Northwest Florida.

“We wanted to create an opportunity for the community to double the amount they give to the Wildlife Sanctuary. When they give through our Web site, we will match the gift dollar-for-dollar, up to a total of$50,000,” Gulf Winds President and CEO Chris Rutledge said.

Rutledge said the credit union is hoping to double its donation with the help of gulf coast residents.

The Wildlife Sanctuary will be doing rehabilitation during and after the oil spill cleanup.

“The Wildlife Sanctuary has been a part of this community for over 28 years and will be here long after the BP cleanup operation has left the area,” Rutledge said. “We know that the Wildlife Sanctuary will be assisting and doing all they can do to protect, restore and rehabilitate wildlife that will be affected by this disaster. Our wildlife cannot wait while lawsuits are settled. They will need our help now and long term.”

Dorothy Kaufmann, Wildlife Sanctuary director, said her staff and volunteers are working closely with many collaborating organizations in these recovery efforts.

The Wildlife Sanctuary is already involved and has received injured birds from Tri-State Rescue and Research, the organization contracted by BP to rehabilitate wildlife in this incident.

“The birds and other animals can’t be released to the wild immediately,” Kaufmann said. “The oil is still out there. We will be ready to nurse the animals back to health and if needed, hold them until it is safe to release them.”

To make a donation, visit www.GoGulfWinds.com. By using the Gulf Winds Web site, your donation will be doubled and 100 percent of the donation will go directly to the local sanctuary.