CATE GABLE PHOTO
Stan the Man, or, more formally, Crazy Stan the Animal Man, and, of course, his side-kick, Beautiful Sal the Animal Gal, are going to be in town this coming week after a trek of over 300 miles down the coast to shed light on the plight of rescue animals in our small rural shelters.
As Stan, AKA Bill Fay, tells it, “My wife [Nancy Fay] Beautiful Sal, and I, Crazy Stan, are on a quest to help animal rescues from the Straights of Juan de Fuca to the mighty Columbia River. It’s about a 300-mile walk and Crazy Stan will be wearing animal masks every step on the way!”
Walking for the animals
But who is this wild and crazy guy of many faces? Bill retired two years ago from Boeing as an electrical engineer. Then he and Nancy did some local charity work — they are located on Fox Island in the Gig Harbor area. Bill says, “We raised $2,500 with the idea of climbing Mount Rainier, though we were turned back early by the weather. Then we were kind of sitting around at home, and I said to Nancy, ‘Let’s try to think what to do next,’ and she said, ‘Let’s do something for the animals.’”
“We’d been feeding feral cats for a quarter of a century at a park in Auburn. I drive over an hour to get there now — we lived over there at one time, so we just got in the habit. And we have two feral cats. Nancy saved this last kitten from being eaten by an eagle at that very park. So we have our little Annie and our little Cinnamon. She brought this one home but we couldn’t even get near her at first without a blood letting. She was Cat-Dracula. She can still only be approached by us.”
“Anyway, I kept asking, ‘What can I do?’ I had walked across the state of Washington from west to east and east to west, 1,200 miles, just to see if I could do it. That took over a year — I started while I was still working. I did it by myself, about two or three days at a whack. I’d drive out to a milepost walk 10 miles, then walk back, then drive home. That proved that I could walk long distances and survive.”
“So we combined some ideas. Nancy was right — we needed to continue doing something for the animals and I wanted to walk.”
Support for rural shelters
Bill decided he was going to support rural coastal shelters that don’t have the same funding base as the shelters in the Puget Sound area. And to make it even crazier — the masks. “Most of the urban shelters have grants and huge donor bases and major marketing and media campaigns,” he says. “They have paid staff. But then you get out to Westport, Long Beach, or Raymond, and you’re looking at organization that are run primarily by volunteers with no gigantic donor bases. You might have a few sweethearts who throw in dough — but you’re not situated financially like the shelters in the Puget Sound Basin.”
The custom-made animal masks were a theatrical touch that accentuated the purpose of his cause. Bill has a friend with a fine arts degree from Green River College who made them. “These are definitely not off-the-shelf masks. They measured my head and used a CAD-design tool and 3D printer to make the shells. Then they were hand painted. One is an orange tabby and the other is a Dalmatian puppy — a cat and a dog, because those are the usual animals in the shelters.”
“I walk six hours a day so these needed to give me visibility and be lightweight, to prevent a lot of sweating, and durable. I’ve gone through thunder storms and everything with these babies on.”
So here’s how it works, Beautiful Sal drops Stan the Man off at a particular milepost (wherever he left off). They decide how far he’ll walk that day and she picks him up at the new milepost at a designated time at the end of the day. Then they do it all again.
But, as you might imagine, walking along the side of the road wearing a Dalmation mask is a little unusual. (This may be an understatement.) In fact, Bill has started a series of unique measurement of his success. One is the Crazy-Stan-Cop-Count. “You don’t just walk across the state of Washington without attracting attention. Yup. Eight policemen so far. They usually roll down the window and say, ‘OK, what are you doing?’ But they never leave without a Crazy-Stan card.”
One of his other metrics is the cumulative blister meter — now at seven. Then there’s the most recent: the crazy bear sighting. “Sal was afraid for me and the bears — she said, ‘It’s dangerous out there’ — so she gave me a whistle to blow when I see a bear. So the next time I saw a bear he was crossing the road, though he hadn’t noticed me. I blew the whistle, then he turned around and we had a stare down. No more whistling at bears. I gave her the whistle back…”
Adding to the numbers
Here’s how you can add to Stan the Man’s real bottom line. He’s hoping to raise $5,000 or more for 10 shelters — and one of them is ours, the South Pacific County Humane Society’s (SPCHS). Please donate here if you can: www.gofundme.com/CrazyStanTheAnimalMan.
Stan ends his walkathon at Cape Disappointment around 2 p.m. on July 12 where he’ll be met by a band of loyal followers. As Sandra Clancy, SPCHS board director, writes, “Crazy Stan is planning to arrive at Cape Disappointment around 2. We’ll be letting people know of his arrival through Facebook posts and our email newsletter to members and donors. We’ll celebrate with sparkling cider and, of course, take pictures!”
Stan the Man will also be marching in the Pet Parade July 15 at noon on the Bolstad beach approach: http://tinyurl.com/Stan-Beach.
The Pet Parade will probably be Crazy Stan the Animal Man’s easiest walk to-date. “Coming down the coast, I was almost hit by two cars and a logging truck — no shoulders! — I fell down an embankment and into a ditch. I’ve had some wild adventures and some really good ones too. This is the most incredible thing I’ve done in my life.”
Stan, the animals thank you!