Mar. 10, 2004 — During a presentation ceremony Tuesday afternoon, The Crystal Shoppe of St. Thomas and the Hungarian porcelain company Herend donated $2,000 to the Reef Ecology Foundation of St. Thomas. The monies will be used to help REF's mooring project to help save area reefs from anchor damage.
The donation was made possible thanks to a partnership the two companies formed to help preserve the Caribbean marine environment. In 2003 Herend created an exclusive collection of Caribbean-inspired porcelain boxes and dedicated a portion of the proceeds of every sale to the Herend Aquatic Fund. Selwyn Puig of The Crystal Shoppe matched the fund and selected REF to receive the proceeds to assist them in their mooring project. "We wanted to donate money to a local organization," Puig said. "The Reef Ecology Foundation seemed like the perfect choice."
According to REF Operations Manager Andre Weber, the funds will be used to help maintain and repair existing moorings. "It's a never-ending battle to keep the moorings intact," Weber said. Also taking part in the presentation ceremony were REF Treasurer Mary Weber and Pam Balush, REF's public relations manager.
Founded in 1993, REF is a local nonprofit organization consisting of volunteers that have dedicated their time and efforts towards the preservation of area reefs. REF has organized and campaigned for the mooring project, focused on the placement and maintenance of more than 80 moorings in local waters to protect area reefs from damage caused by anchor chains. The organization relies on funding from grants and donations to continue its work. For more information on REF go to its Web site.
As part of the Tuesday's event, Herend master painter Tamas Vecsey was on hand to demonstrate the art of hand painting fine porcelain and also sign pieces from The Caribbean collection. According to Puig, Herend is the last company that actually paints its china by hand. Vecsey will be at The Crystal Shoppe at A.H. Riise through Thursday.
According to Puig, the second edition of Herend's Caribbean collection will be released later this year.
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