Winkie's Special Friend


Gary Fink

The Sanctuary elephants are blessed to have so many caring people concerned for their welfare. It is not surprising that our members become personally attached to all of the girls. Sometimes circumstances arise which create an unforeseen bond between a Sanctuary member and an elephant.

Winkie's "Guardian Angel", Gary Fink, has never met Winkie in person. He was not a resident of Madison, WI, nor had he ever visited the Henry Vilas Zoo where Winkie resided for over thirty years.

But when he heard of the effort to move Winkie to The Elephant Sanctuary he immediately became involved. He assisted with communications between zoo authorities, a local citizens group, and the Sanctuary. His efforts were instrumental in ensuring that Winkie was sent to the Sanctuary.

His concern for Winkie's welfare did not end once Winkie was transferred to the Sanctuary. Fully recognizing that Winkie's care could extend another four decades, Gary pledged to contribute $10,000 to Winkie's Endowment Trust every year for the remainder of her life—a mammoth commitment by any standards.

Gary has demonstrated a deep sense of responsibility toward the care and welfare of Winkie, not because he knew her, was her keeper, was the director of the zoo where she lived or even was allowed to play with her. Gary felt a connection to Winkie and wanted to ensure that never again would her life be compromised.

The Sanctuary Board of Directors, Executive Council, staff and especially Winkie are grateful for Gary's generous commitment to the life long care of such a special animal. May his actions inspire others to become personally involved in the life and care of each of the Sanctuary elephants.

A Gift of Love
Poem by Barbara Borchardt

There was once a gentle giant,
in need of loving care.

Longing for familiar others,
while dreaming in despair.

Confined to miniscule spaces,
through sublime unaware.

Insecurities on the rise,
with no hope for repair.

Until a noble knight-errant,
with alms became aware.

Chivalrous in both heart and
deeds, rescuing the most fair.

Companionship is now at hand,
with joyous dreams to share.

Roaming meadows with head held
high, in fields of fragrant air.

Conquering each fear one by one,
with bravery to spare.

Insecurities on the mend,
forsaking laissez faire.

A social creature once again,
declares the damsel fair.

The gentle giant longs no more,
heiress to loving care.