Taken from Facebook, I warn you get the tissues out your going to cry.
To all of you weird, wonderful furries, thank you.
I don’t normally do these, but this time some things need to be said.
I love the city of Chicago. It’s a great town with lots to see and do, but really what makes it home for me are the people who welcomed me with open arms. I went to my first Midwest Furfest back in 2002 when it was a small gathering of geeks who liked to play games, watch DVD’s (yeah we still had those because I am old), and dance to techno wearing plush ears and tails.
Moving is one of the most stressful things someone can do. Moving to a whole new city with no support network makes it even worse. The furries were welcoming from the first day and have never stopped. I found friendship and the love of my life there.
I started working for Midwest Furfest as staff in 2004. I’ve been registration staff, the head of the gaming track, and operations before settling into my current role as the assistant director of operations and legal counsel for the corporation that runs the con. Somehow 10 years have gone by and despite many nights of sleep deprivation I wouldn’t trade any of them for the world.
Early in the morning on Sunday, December 7th, I was in a room party drinking with friends because hey, I was off duty! And then the alarms went off. Reports started coming in of a gas leak and MFF security and medical staff showed up and told us that yes this was a real emergency. So everyone vacated the hotel.
When I got downstairs, Devin (MFF’s assistant director of security) tracked me down and informed me that I needed to join the convention’s senior staff at a staging area to help coordinate our response.
I have never sobered up so quickly in my life.
So we stood there, in the cold, talking through what our immediate and near-term steps needed to be. We found Robert, the president of Midwest Furry Fandom, Inc. We did what we could to take care of our friends and guests and we made plans for what to do next.
Throughout it all it was you, the MFF community – our friends and loved ones, who made this ordeal so much easier than it could have been.
As the company’s lawyer, it’s my job to look out for MFF. By looking out for each other, each and every one of you stepped up and showed the world the kind of amazing men and women you all are.
You gave your jackets and fursuit parts to people who had to evacuate without proper clothing.
You hugged strangers just because they were cold.
You kept your cool when we the staff had no answers for your questions even though you deserved them.
You helped each other stay warm and hydrated.
You applauded the emergency services workers and thanked them when they let us back into the hotel.
You came up to sleepless staffers walking zombie-like through the Hyatt and helped us keep going with hugs, pats on the back, handshakes, and “thank you’s.”
I am proud of you all. Every last strange, wonderful one of you. You made it all worthwhile.
We don’t know who it was that forced more than 4500 people (including me) to evacuate the hotel last weekend. And we still don’t know what he or she was thinking when they did what they did. Some people have called this a terrorist attack. I don’t know how to think or feel about that yet, but what I do know is this.
As a community we are not so easily terrorized.
In closing… I just want to say “thank you” from the bottom of my heart.