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MANDEVILLE, LA — Ian Somerhalder grew up in the Covington area and was launched to stardom with his roles in the television shows Lost and Vampire Diaries.

Now Somerhalder has a new project on his hands and is working with his own foundation to make it happen.  Saturday night, his foundation’s fundraiser brought actors, local celebrities, and community leaders to the Fleur De Lis Event Center in Mandeville.

The event was called Mutts to Models.  From the moment guests arrived and were handed their first glass of wine from the live wine bar, they knew this would be a special night.  And it was!

Somerhalder was joined by actors J.D. Evermore, Charlie Talbert, Sabrina Gennarino, Kerry Cahill and others to take turns walking the models — the dogs — before the audience.  WGNO’s Susan Roesgen and Curt Sprang joined other local names to grab a leash and a pooch and also  stroll the catwalk.

Somerhalder’s foundation already owns nearly 100 acres of land in the Mandeville/Lacombe area.  Plans call for the land to be used as a sanctuary and education center.

Support for the ISF is also growing in Saint Tammany Parish.  The Mystic Krewe of Mardi Paws parade also named the foundation as its main beneficiary.

Saturday’s Mutts to Models event raised an estimated $150,000.  But ISF isn’t the only beneficiary.  The Scott’s Wish group helps patients and their families who are battling leukemia and other illnesses.  The group provides assistance with the costs of travel, lodging, and other expenses of treatment and care.

Click on the video button at the top of this page to get a peek inside the first annual Mutts to Models fundraiser.