Marina del Rey Patch would like to announce that Marie Atake, founder of Marina del Rey-based Forte Animal Rescue that has saved the lives of about 900 dogs, has been chosen as the Marina del Rey Patch 2011 Person of the Year.
Atake received 800 of the 1,093 votes in our unscientific poll and also received numerous comments in support of her nomination. Atake founded Forte Animal Rescue and it is named after her Shiloh Shepherd that she saved from a shelter and had from 1992 to 1999. She heads up a Marina del Rey-based all-volunteer, nonprofit group that is a 100 percent no-kill rescue that takes in all types of dogs, from poodles to pit bulls. Since 2002, Forte Animal Rescue has saved the lives of nearly 900 dogs.
Atake from 2005 to 2007 also served on the Los Angeles Animal Services Commission after being appointed Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the City Council appointed her to the city's Spay/Neuter Advisory Committee that oversaw the implementation of the mandatory spay/neuter ordinance from 2008 until the law became effective in 2009.
Her nominator said that running the rescue group "takes an incredible amount of time, energy, and love to oversee an organization with so many needs and activities, and Marie is a hero to all of us who love animals, and to every animal whose life she has saved."
A commenter, Julie Hoff, said that Atake's work goes beyond saving animals to educating others on how to prevent the over-population of homeless animals.
"It is a wondrous thing when someone has the courage to not only start a non-profit rescue, but what sets her apart, is that she also strives to find the solution, so someday, hopefully, we won't have this epidemic problem," Hoff wrote.
Brigitte Burdine, the talented video game director and casting agent who was killed in December 2010 by a hit-and-run driver in Playa del Rey, received a posthumous nomination in a testament to the positive impact she continues to have among friends, family members and colleagues. Burdine was the second-highest vote-getter with 19 percent of the vote.
Her nominator said that Burdine made a difference in many lives and that her legacy of being compassionate, inclusive and giving is an example to emulate . "In a way, it is what keeps Brigitte alive. Her life has generated many new friendships that came from the common bond of Brigitte," the nominator said.
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputy Wayne Yoshimura, of the sheriff's Marina del Rey station, was nominated for his years of dedicated and professional service and recently retired with fanfare from the sheriff's department. Dave Barish, the co-founder of We ARE Marina del Rey, also received 3 percent of the vote.
Congratulations to the nominees and thank you for your contributions to the communities served by Marina del Rey Patch.
For a full list of the nominees, check here.