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Meg Underwood, Lisa Brodasky, and Chadi Braish with Geoffrey Richard T. Doermer II.

Looking up the mystery behind Doermer's giraffe is a tall order

Something mysterious has been going on recently at the Doermer School of Business Building. One day, a 7-foot-tall giraffe showed up at its front door. No one knows where the lightweight statue came from, including anyone from facilities, maintenance, janitorial, administrative accounting, or human resources.

But he attracts attention and is cute so the DSB inhabitants quickly became attached, even naming him Geoffrey Richard T. Doermer II. Any semblance to another giraffe’s name, like at a well-known toy store, is purely coincidental.

“A few months ago, I was walking into work and couldn’t help but notice this gorgeous statue of a giraffe,” said Kendall Hovis, talent acquisition specialist in Human Resources and Office of Institutional Equity. “I took a selfie with him and texted my coworkers to ask if they knew who it belonged to. Unfortunately, they were no help, but we decided he was the new building pet. The occasional selfie is taken with him and shared around the office, but he truly was a guard animal and friendly face to see every morning.”

But then, the same mysterious way he arrived, Geoffrey disappeared one day — dun, dun, duuun! Everyone expressed concern when noticing his absence on a Monday morning.

Was he kidnapped by goats? Did a gaggle of geese scare him away? If someone had tried to shove the giraffe into a car, they’d certainly need a sunroof — and shouldn’t that have made him easy to “spot” on campus or around town? Wouldn’t you think as a kidnapping victim, a giraffe would be a little high maintenance? 

“We need an investigative journalist to get to the bottom of this,” said Meg Underwood, director of development and outreach.

Unfortunately, that person was unavailable, and they were left with someone less skilled.

Finding out what happened during this tall tale was probably a long shot. And even if the giraffe could talk, would he stick his neck out and identify the perpetrators?

Luckily, there’s a happy ending to this story, thanks in part to an All-Points Bulletin that Hovis sent to the Purdue University Fort Wayne Police Department (Just the facts, ma’am). Turns out University Police had held an active shooter training drill at DSB over the weekend when Geoffrey disappeared. 

After bringing in the long arm of the law, stories start to vary. Either Geoffrey was scared by the commotion and hid in an inside closet, or he become a voluntary hostage for the drill. Rumor says he was included in the post-event photo with his new buddies, standing tall in the back, holding his head high. 

Anyway, Chief Tim Potts either rescued or found Geoffrey quickly after the APB and even posed for a selfie with him. 

“Chief Potts took him around the building, let him look out over the pond, over the balcony, and finally put him back in his spot outside the building so he could continue his duties of protecting DSB,” Hovis said.

There’s even a photo of Geoffrey wearing a police jacket, used to help protect him from getting … wait for it … a sore throat.

This just in …

Further details have emerged, including Geoffrey’s origin! 

Turns out Lisa Brodasky, the DSB’s executive assistant to the dean, is Geoffrey’s keeper. She’d purchased the statue years ago at the now-defunct Pier 1 Imports and placed the giraffe in her family room. 

Recently, she was researching the Giraffe Heroes Project, a nonprofit that honors “compassionate risk takers who are largely unknown people who have the courage to stick their necks out for the common good.”

Realizing she worked with many people like that, Brodasky brought the giraffe to DSB as inspiration. 

“I was going to draft an email explaining all of this, but everybody in DSB already had this text chain going and it blew up and got really funny, so I held off,” Brodasky said. “I just like to give back in ways that ignites my soul and keeps me positive, and I try to bring that to other people.”

After the investigation began to go public, Brodasky realized she needed to send the email.

“Geoffrey honors all of our compassionate risk-takers, people who have the courage to stick their necks out for the common good,” it read. “I wanted to remind everyone that we are capable of great things! I’ve seen it with my own two eyes, and I am honored to be part of the PFW family.

“I never expected such an interest, but I’m beyond happy to know it brought joy.”