A memorial event was held for a second year called Wrapped in Love Oct. 25 at Grant Park to make blankets to benefit homeless animals and remember Sterling, the dog who was killed.

A memorial event was held for a second year called Wrapped in Love Oct. 25 at Grant Park to make blankets to benefit homeless animals and remember Sterling, the dog who was killed.

Photo provided by Sterling’s Legacy


Memorial event to remember slain dog brings community together

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby - Utica News | Published November 9, 2020

 A member of the Sterling’s Legacy group ties together a knot blanket to be donated to a shelter.

A member of the Sterling’s Legacy group ties together a knot blanket to be donated to a shelter.

Photo provided by Sterling’s Legacy

Advertisement

UTICA — A memorial event was held for a second year by a local group that formed after a dog adopted from a shelter was stabbed to death at a park in Utica in 2019.

After the attack at Grant Park, a group called Sterling’s Legacy formed to remember the dog and fight against abuse and violence done to animals.

Sterling’s Legacy recently hosted its second annual event, called “Wrapped in Love,” from 2 to 5 p.m. Oct. 25 at Grant Park to make blankets to benefit homeless animals and remember Sterling, the dog who was killed.

Things were a little different this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and per CDC guidelines, this event was limited to 100 people. Social distancing and masks were required.

Guests gathered under the pavilion to make no-sew tie or knot fleece blankets to donate to local animal shelters and rescues that need them to offer warmth and comfort to their animals while they wait to find their forever homes. Animals that receive the blankets will get to keep them forever.

Sandy Isaacs, a co-administrator of the group, attended the event and said the group has grown and opened many new doors.

“We gather as a community to stand up against abuse and violence on animals, humans and all living things. Sterling’s Legacy, a group of almost 3,000 volunteer animal advocates, also offers a variety of support to people — financially and otherwise — including advocating for human rights, supporting JEMS Street Ministry with their homeless outreach program, connecting those in need with community resources and much more. The group is working towards obtaining 501(c)(3) status in the near future,” said Isaacs.

The celebration included gift basket raffles and a 50-50 raffle. Guests were asked to bring a new pet item or personal hygiene item for donation, and they received one free gift basket raffle ticket for each item they brought. Items collected were donated to JEMS Street Ministry, Woman’s Life Chapter 911 Macomb Angels and local animal rescues/shelters.

One of the admins, Kate Maurer, of Kate’s K9 Academy, and her dog, Karma, traveled all the way from Iowa for the event to answer questions and offer some free training help.

Guests were asked to bring their own fleece, sharp scissors, and a ruler or yardstick to make the blankets.

Those who were unable to attend could make a blanket at home, provided they were able to ship or deliver the blanket to Sterling’s Legacy prior to their distribution to the shelters and rescues. Monetary donations also were accepted.

Those who were facing financial hardship and couldn’t afford to purchase fleece but wanted to attend and make a blanket were able to work with the group to make it possible.

Although the event is in memory of Sterling, the group does not want his legacy to be one of sadness. They want it to be a happy celebration of his life.

Rosanna Basilisco attended the event and always finds she is emotional remembering the tragic event and the things the group does in return.

“It is always very emotional. I was there with my sisters who met with about 30 other people who share the same passion. Sterling and the man (Mike Shereda) that also lost his life at Grant Park (in a separate act of violence in 2018) will never be forgotten,” said Basilisco.

Utica City Councilman Gus Calandrino said the group has found a way to bring something beautiful and full of positivity to a city that experienced something tragic.

“Like all of Sterling’s Legacy events, it was great. I just love these folks for what they do. The Sterling’s Legacy group continues to be a force of love and positivity in our community. They transformed a tragic event into advocacy for animal anti-cruelty,” he said.

For more information, visit www.sterlingslegacy.org.

Advertisement