‘Above and beyond’: Car dealership helps wildlife foundation take wing

CEDAR CITY — For the seventh year in a row, Findlay Subaru St. George has made a sizable donation to the Southwest Wildlife Foundation of Utah. 

Findlay Subaru St. George general manager Dave Gourley recently presented a check for $12,444 to the foundation, with SWF founder Martin Tyner accepting the donation. Due to COVID-19 related restrictions regarding large-group gatherings, this year’s check presentation was instead made outdoors as Tyner released a newly rehabilitated red-tailed hawk into the wild from the “C” overlook on the mountain overlooking Cedar City.

Watch the hawk release in the media player above, courtesy of Findlay Subaru and the Southwest Wildlife Foundation.

Subaru’s “Share the Love” program allows customers the option to donate a portion of their vehicle purchase to a selection of charities or to a designated “hometown” charity. In 2019, Findlay Subaru St. George’s designated local recipient was once again the Southwest Wildlife Foundation, a Cedar City-based 501(C)(3) non-profit public organization that provides wildlife rehabilitation services and promotes wildlife education.

Tyner, who has more than 50 years of experience in taking care of wild birds and other wildlife, called the “Share the Love” program “a godsend.”

Martin Tyner prepares to release a rehabilitated red-tailed hawk near Cedar City, Utah, June 2020 | Image from video courtesy of Findlay Subaru and Southwest Wildlife Foundation of Utah, St. George News / Cedar City News

“It means a great deal to us for them to step up and help us,” said Tyner, who is widely known as “Eagle Man” as he travels around the state and other parts of the country doing educational programs, often accompanied by his trusty golden eagle sidekick named Scout.

Lately, however, Tyner said his travels have been somewhat limited due to school closures and coronavirus related restrictions. That’s just as well, Tyner told Cedar City News, noting that he has been keeping extra busy lately working with animal rehabilitation efforts.

“This has been the the busiest spring and early summer that we’ve ever had, when it comes to wildlife rescue,” he said, adding, “All all of my facilities are filled.”

Tyner said he has recently helped or is currently helping rehabilitate several injured birds, including a barn owl, a golden eagle, two Cooper’s hawks, a ferruginous hawk, two peregrine falcons, a golden eagle and a bald eagle. 

During the recent check presentation, Gourley lauded Tyner’s tireless efforts in helping save wild animals’ lives.

“We’re so glad and proud to help Martin make a real difference in our community through rehabilitating over 150 wildlife each year,” Gourley said.

Image from social media post detailing a fundraising campaign in late 2019 and early 2020 to purchase a new vehicle for Southwest Wildlife Foundation. | Image courtesy of Southwest Wildlife Foundation of Utah, St. George News / Cedar City News

Tyner said he was also grateful for Findlay Subaru’s support and assistance several months ago, after the foundation had raised more than $30,000 in a different fundraising campaign. That effort raised funds to purchase a new travel vehicle for Tyner, in which he could safely transport birds and other animals.

The foundation’s previous Subaru Forester vehicle had nearly 200,000 miles on it, Tyner noted.  

“So we had this birthday fundraiser, and everybody stepped up and they were so kind to donate money for us to get a new car,” Tyner said, adding that the campaign enabled him to purchase a new 2020 model Forester for the foundation.

Dave Gourley and everybody at Findlay Subaru gave us unbelievably good deal,” he said.

“They just really went way above and beyond,” Tyner added. “To be honest with you, I was a little bit afraid because instead of the most basic one, this is kind of a mid-range one. And I was a little concerned because like I said, every penny counts. Anybody that knows me knows that if you give me a nickel, I’ll spend it like a quarter, trying to get three or four times more out of it.”

For more information about the Southwest Wildlife Foundation and its activities, visit the organization’s website or its Facebook page

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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