This Saturday, March 2, volunteers from Whiskers animal rescue will be serving up a baked steak dinner at McCoole VFW from 4-7 p.m. Advance tickets are available at the VFW, as well as from the Whiskers board of directors. Advance tickets are $10 per person. The dinner will be prepared for 200 people, and meals will be served until sold out. Eat-in or take-out.

By Trish Morgan
For the News Tribune
This Saturday, March 2, volunteers from Whiskers animal rescue will be serving up a baked steak dinner at McCoole VFW from 4-7 p.m. Advance tickets are available at the VFW, as well as from the Whiskers board of directors. Advance tickets are $10 per person. The dinner will be prepared for 200 people, and meals will be served until sold out. Eat-in or take-out.
Whiskers is a non-profit 501c3 organization, located in Westernport, MD. Missy Smith, owner and executive director, has been in the rescue business for over nine years. Here is her story:
"Many people ask me why I rescue. I’ll give you the short, edited version….
“I owned a home in Crestwood Addition in New Creek. I was going through a very bad time in my life. I was out one evening and when I returned home, there were fire trucks lining my road. Never dreamed what I would find. There was nothing left of my home. It was an electrical fire. I lost EVERYTHING! In that fire, I lost my dog and three cats…Lucy, Leo, Lola and Tipsy. It was HORRIFIC!  The guilt and overwhelming sadness I felt because I could not save them was unbearable. I still have nightmares.
“This event took me on a very severe downward spiral in life. When I finally crawled out of the pits of hell, I vowed to save other animals since I could not save my own. I rescue today….in their honor…in their memory.
“I think they would be proud of me. I think I’ve done them well.
“These animals save me every single day. I rescue in hopes that they will be adopted and maybe save someone else just like they did and still do save me. 
“I now work at the same place that pulled me from those pits of hell many years ago. I guess you could say I kind of ‘rescue’ humans, too. 
“I have come full circle, I suppose. 
“Because their lives matter….."
The baked steak dinner is just one of many fundraisers that this nonprofit organization will be doing this year. Funds are needed year-round, as there are many unwanted, abused, neglected and forgotten cats who deserve a lovely, safe and comfortable life. Missy's mission is to save the ones she can from a horrible existence, get them to a veterinarian for medications, spay or neuter, taking care of them at the rescue  - thus bringing them to good health so that she can find the perfect forever home for each animal.
Saturday's dinner menu consists of all made-from-scratch foods: 6-oz baked steak and gravy (tenderized steak from Wayne's Country Market in Keyser), homemade mashed potatoes made by Coal Bucket Restaurant in Kitzmiller, MD, green beans, coleslaw, rolls from Wayne's, cakes and desserts, coffee and tea. Cost: $12 adults; $5 ages 5-12; free for under age 5.
Mary and Rich Patterson, Romney, are quite famous around this area for their baked steak, and they will serve as the managers in the kitchen all day at the VFW. Mary is also famous and appreciated for the special touches that she brings to community dinners. Touches such as colored tablecloths, cups and decorations, and she will decorate with Whiskers' color scheme of pink, black and white.
Scott Paxton of Westernport will provide live entertainment from 4- 7 pm. Scott began playing guitar at age 16, but always had a love for music. At the age of 17, Scott travelled to Australia as part of the American Field Service exchange program. While living in Adelaide, South Australia, he began busking (another word for street performing) on the streets and developed a love of performing. Busking is defined as playing music or otherwise performing for voluntary donations in the street or in subways.
He also became involved in music and the arts at Morialta High School before returning to Keyser. Scott attended Potomac State College - studying communications and music. While there, he started his first radio job and began performing at the Candlewyck Inn and various other establishments from Deep Creek Lake to Ocean City, Maryland.
In 1988, Scott was offered a two-night engagement at the Boathouse Grill on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. That weekend turned into two years until Harbourtown offered him a stage six nights a week at one of the most visited landmarks on the East Coast.
Over the next eight years, Scott entertained thousands of tourists on that stage and performed across the US and in the Caribbean.
In 1997 Scott moved back to West Virginia to take a break from performing, which ended up being nearly 20 years. He continued to work in broadcasting and freelancing as a VoiceOver artist. You have probably heard him on a TV advertisement, infomercial, or training video.
Today you can find him singing at area churches, nursing homes, and for causes dear to his heart. Scott enjoys sharing his testimony and God's gift wherever he goes.
In addition to the live entertainment and the delicious menu, Whiskers will also be kicking off the Old Fella Cookbook Sale, which will feature 300 recipes and the story of Old Fella's rescue and new life - a cat's life starting over at age 18! There will be volunteers from Pack 29 and Sunnyside 4-H - of Keyser - helping at the dinner and providing a project of community service. There will also be volunteers from the rescue community selling 50/50 tickets, decals, magnets and calendars, and also accepting donations for some very sick kittens who need immediate veterinary care.
At the raffle table, volunteers will also be kicking off the Roclith Blanket Sale, where they will be working with Clint Hillman, and they will have samples of the Whiskers and school blankets.
Desserts for the dinner will include cakes and specialties by M & S Desserts, Keyser, and dedicated supporters of Whiskers animal rescue.
In addition to Missy Smith, owner/executive director, and myself as president, the other board of directors of Whiskers, Inc. are as follows: Becky Viers, vice president; Danielle Viers, secretary/treasurer; Karen Fike, Tina Geraghty, Janna Konke and Mary Patterson.
This board is actively creating a calendar of events for the remainder of the year. Some of those events include spirit days, a kitten shower, guest speaking at Ya Ya of Western Maryland, corporate mail campaign, an online auction, and all you can taste dinner and desserts bar and many more.
Mission of Whiskers, Inc: Whiskers is a nonprofit 501(c)3 no-kill volunteer animal rescue, serving Allegany County MD and the surrounding areas in nearby Maryland and West Virginia. We rescue animals who are abandoned, homeless, sick, injured/and or neglected. Animals in our care are spayed or neutered, socialized and receive all appropriate veterinary care and treatment while awaiting adoption.  Some are placed in foster homes while they await placement in their permanent homes.   We do not adopt on a first-come, first-serve basis.  We place animals in loving, responsible, committed permanent homes, while take considerable care in finding good matches and educating  prospective adopters about the responsibilities and costs of bringing a pet into their homes and lives. Any animal that does not find a home, or is not suitable for adoption, due to health issues or lack of socialization, etc., will remain at the rescue, safe and loved, for the rest of his or her life. 
We also strive to work with area shelters and other rescue organizations to develop a network in order to create a better world for homeless pets.
You can read all about Whiskers' activities on Whiskers, Inc. Facebook page, and since it is a nonprofit organization, it is now officially registered with Facebook, AmazonSmile, Guidestar and Ebay - you can make tax-deductible donations through any of these outlets, as well as Whiskers PayPal account.