Paul Foster, El Paso Zoo Give Free Zoo Membership to Military Families
The El Paso Zoo is growing every day. They are developing better displays, constructing more interactive features for visitors, and they're getting a 2 million dollar boost from El Paso's local billionaire. Paul Foster and his wife, Alejandra De La Vega Foster, are donating 2 million dollars to the zoo, and part of that money will provide zoo memberships for 8,000 Fort Bliss families!
Zoo Director Steve Marshall said the Foster's donation covers the membership fee for 4,000 Fort Bliss families a year for the next two years. Beginning this month, the memberships will be distributed by the post's Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Programs. Marshall said the Zoo memberships for returning Fort Bliss service personnel will "help them reintegrate back into the lives of their families and back into the El Paso community that respects them and recognizes their sacrifices." Families can go as many times as they want throughout the year to the Zoo with the memberships. The family membership is for two adults and five children for the entire year.
Zoo officials say dealing with deployments every year is tough on everyone, but coming home is sometimes tougher. Families need time to reintegrate, and even get to know each other again, and the donation of the memberships by the Fosters will help tremendously with that process.
The donation by the Foster's makes the El Paso Zoo the first in the nation to have such a program for military families.
The donation also provides more funding to the Zoo because every Zoo membership directly funds Zoo projects. The Foster's donation doubles the size of membership households in El Paso.
Over the next six years, the $2 million donation will be split this way:
· $600,000 for Zoo memberships to be distributed to military families. 4,000 memberships will be distributed in 2014 and 4,000 in 2015.
· $500,000 for Foster Tree House Playground given in 2013 for playground opening in 2014
· $900,000 sponsorship for Wildlife Theater programming for 2016-2018
Check out more details about the El Paso Zoo at elpasozoo.org, follow them on Facebook at facebook.com/elpasozoo, on Twitter at twitter.com/elpasozoo), and on YouTube at youtube.com/user/theelpasozoo.
Thank you so much to the Foster's for their generosity toward our troops at Fort Bliss!