Publisher’s Notebook

Published 11:12 am Monday, May 18, 2015

I first met Lennie Rizzo four and a half years ago. Long a treasure of our area, I had no idea what a real gem he really is. Lennie comes across as unassuming and friendly, the kind of guy people hope to have as their next door neighbor or as a friend.

Moments into a conversation with Lennie, a transformation takes place as he talks about his latest friend in need. If it’s a tale of the latest success, his face lights up with a smile that spreads across his face until he’s practically glowing. If, on the other hand, it’s the latest friend in need, chances are you will see his eyes well up with tears as he relates the plight his four-legged friend is going through.

Four-legged friends are his passion and they love and adore him for it. You hear tales of horse whisperers — people who talk to animals — and I believe that Lennie has such a quality. I don’t know that they understand the words but they understand his heart. On some subliminal level they understand they are in good hands with Lennie. They can feel that he is their friend and will do whatever it takes to protect and help them. Abused, neglected, abandoned and injured — they all have a friend in Lennie.

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If you are a regular reader of the Tryon Daily Bulletin you are familiar with Lennie’s weekly column, Special Cases. If not, you are missing out. Pick up a copy of Friday’s paper and look for it. In his column Lennie highlights special cases that he has been asked to help with, and he also shares updates on the progress of his many, many friends.

Every vet in the area has his number and I’m guessing most of them have the number on speed dial. He’s always ready to lend a hand with medicine, an operation or whatever is necessary to help with their recovery. How can you not love a guy like that?

Lennie’s Kids, as he affectionately calls his four-legged friends, need help and that’s where you come in. This weekend the Fifth Annual Gala Fundraiser for Lennie’s Kids will be held Sunday at Tryon Estates, 617 Laurel Lake Dr., Columbus, N.C. from 4 – 7 p.m. Tickets are available at the door and at local vets. If you can’t attend the gala but still want to help, make your tax-deductible donation check out to Lennie Rizzo and put Major Cases in the margin. Mail it to 245 Ioka Hills Rd., Columbus NC 28722.  Be sure to include your address so that Lennie can send you a receipt.

As Lennie would say, “Thanks for listening.”

Betty Ramsey