Jailbirds out on $11,000 bond
By Robin Scott
The Muscular Dystrophy Association, MDA, holds the lock up annually to support “Jerry’s Kids.” The event raises funds for the organization every time someone helps pay a portion of the offender’s bail. The jailbirds are asked to have their family, friends and business associates make donations to MDA and “bail” them out.
Thursday’s lock up was held at the Bar-H Restaurant located on Liberal Street. Bar-H provided lunch and beverages to all of the participants while they were jailed. Jailbirds and the amounts they raised included Judge Edwyna Womble $50, Dalhart Fire Chief Curtis Brown $110, Assistant City Manager James Stroud $315, Bob Medford $202, Ann Bookout, Anthony Lovato $667, Mike McEvers $600, Dean Brown $1,000, Jim Parker $712, Jeff Lloyd $575, Dalhart Texan Publisher Susan Clay $100, Curtis Chisum $735, Casey Mack $100, Brissa Diaz and Alma Gonzales $105.25, Eddie Wheeler $255.55, Sarah Pollard $90.45, Janice Aikens $112, Sherri Haschke $125, Gail Holmes $125, Shannon Lees $110, Gail Beard $315, Jennifer Lopez $200, Mary Campbell $101.76, Linda Mendoza $140.00, Rhonda McMillen $615, Tim McMillen $370, Chris Bell $255, Sheldon Martinez $320, Dorinda Dashnaw $225.57, Julie Grant $435 and Jamie Gillispie $693. The total amount donated by Dalhart to the MDA campaign was $11,000.
MDA Representatives at the afternoon event were Elizabeth “Beth” Rodriquez, District Director and Amber Sturgess, Program Coordinator, both of Amarillo. Acting Judge for the day was Ben Aikens from Dalhart. He donned a black robe and escorted each detainee to the lockup. The MDA group is based out of Amarillo, but all of the money raised in the event is used locally and any money left over helps the surrounding areas. Ms. Rodriquez stated that the first goal is to send all of the kids to camp at Ceta Canyon, which will be held next week. Ms. Rodriquez noted, “The cost for each child to attend camp is $800 and MDA hopes to collect enough during the lockup for each area child to attend the camp.” She also stated that everyone is familiar with Jerry’s Kids, but the organization is dedicated to any aged individual. There are 300 families in the area signed up with MDA.
The upcoming camp is called the “Boundary Free” camp because the children can use their wheelchairs to travel all over. They are able to swim, attend dances, ride horses, fish in the pond, attend a cookout, enjoy a campfire, and according to Rodriquez, “Feel like a normal kid.” This year’s camp theme is “Back to the Future.” Rodriquez stated, “Every time I go, I cry, because it’s what this job is all about.” She relayed one of her favorite stories about a boy who cried when he was placed in the pool. He stated that he felt like he could walk again. Rodriquez stated she relays that story because it embodies what people should know about what the organization is dedicated to providing for people. Lubbock, Midland and Amarillo districts attend the camp together. Usually, there are about 35 kids and each child has their own attendant.
Each individual that agreed to the lock up on Thursday was provided a web page by MDA so that anyone who wanted to contribute to their “bail” could do so on line. The site included information on the types of services MDA provides and how their donations are used. A listing of exactly how much money it costs for the organization to provide things such as a flu shot, one minute of research or the purchase of a wheelchair or leg braces for one child.
MDA supports the research and treatment of more than forty muscular diseases. The organization is dedicated to educating the public on the many diseases and provides a comprehensive website with a great deal of information about all of the diseases it supports.
The annual Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon began in 1966. It is a 21½-hour, star-studded variety show that entertains, informs and raises funds for the service and research programs of the MDA. The telethon raised more than $1 million its first year and in 2008 nearly $65 million. In 1998, the telethon made history as the first seen around the world via Internet simulcast. Many people who watched the telethon as a child now watch it with their own children.
For more information on MDA visit www.mda.org.