ECW referee Scott Armstrong helps save Florida zoo

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January 25, 2008

Ivan the Terrible was the first tsar of Russia. Ivan the hurricane was a devastating storm that ravaged Florida and the eastern U.S. three years ago, destroying towns, homes and more specifically, The Zoo of Northwest Florida in Gulf Breeze, where WWE referee Scott Armstrong calls home. And now the ref's reaching out to our fans in order to help raise money and rebuild the animals' home.

"When my children were growing up, I took them to the zoo all the time," Armstrong said of his kids who are now 16 and 13 years old. "But three years ago, when the hurricane hit, it bombarded the zoo and took out everything. I mean it cost millions of dollars to put it back together and the zoo didn't have that kind of funding."

To date The Zoo has raised $1 million, one-third of its ultimate goal, and it still needs help. Armstrong made his first contribution this Christmas when he bought a year's pass for his entire family. "My kids are older now and they're not into the zoo like they were when they were younger," he explained, "but the money goes toward its restoration because they're so far behind that now."

When Armstrong heard The Zoo would be forced to shut down due to lack of rebuilding funds, he asked if there was anything more he could do. "I'm not in a huge position, but I am a referee on the best wrestling show in the world. And they said, ‘Anything you can do can help.' "

Today, Armstrong is asking the same of our fans. "I'm basically trying to get the word out and let people know, ‘Hey, if you're an animal lover or anything to do with that. If you love wrestling and you just want to help a referee do something …' " then visit The Zoo's Web site at www.thezoonorthwestflorida.org and make a tax deductible donation to help save The Zoo of Northwest Florida.

While Armstrong wishes he could do more in terms of fund-raising, it's a challenge when he's only home in Gulf Breeze two days a week, he said. "It's not really taking the time to go to the zoo and hold up a poster that says support the zoo, it's just getting the word out that we can all do something," Armstrong said.

 "The Zoo hasn't reached its goal yet of the amount of money it's trying to raise, but anything anybody could do to send money to help the zoo would be awesome," Armstrong noted. "I don't own any part of the zoo and I don't have anything in it, other than the love of being able to take my kids when they were small and watching other kids go and have that same experience. It's sad to hear it might shut down because of Mother Nature. If I'm in a position to help, let's do it."

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