Local business kicks off third annual ‘First Responder’s Calendar Fundraiser’

Published: Nov. 20, 2023 at 4:46 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - One Marion business that sells gear like shoes and t-shirts to support law enforcement, is kicking off an annual fundraiser that highlights a different element of emergency response: Pets.

“This is special beyond belief, and we’re so grateful for the opportunity,” said Jan Erceg, Critter Crusaders founder.

Honor and Respect’s third annual First Responder calendar will feature First Responders from Linn County with a variety of furry friends.

This year the fundraiser will benefit Critter Crusaders and Cedar Rapids Animal Care and Control.

”The first responder field, they work alongside these groups that deal with the animals, a lot of the times on like different calls and stuff like that. So they work alongside each other a lot and they see what work they’re putting in,” said Emma Ridder, Honor and Respect Director of Communications.

Erceg said funds will go directly toward veterinary bills.

The organization provides advanced medical care for homeless and stray animals.

Erceg said many of their volunteers have spent time as first responders.

”I was floored because in the 16 years that Critter Crusaders has been in existence I can’t think of a single fundraiser that has more meaning to so many of us,” said Erceg. ”Because, you know, we have done those jobs and we know what they go through every day,” she said.

Funds going to Cedar Rapids Animal Care and Control will go to its nonprofit tied to the shelter, Friends Helping Friends.

”They also supply us with some of our major equipment. They supply us with some of our surgery supplies that we would be lost without. So without Friends Helping Friends, we would be in dire straits,” said Kelly Kelly, Cedar Rapids Animal Care and Control Program Manager.

Erceg said she’s excited for the final product.

”I just want to look at this, hang it up on my wall, and be remembered every single day for what they do, the service that they give the public,” she said.

If you’re interested in a calendar, you can click here.