Residents do hard time for needy

Published 4:30 am Wednesday, February 23, 2005

By by Lee Weyhrich
Cell doors will be slamming across Atmore in April as some of the city's most prominent citizens are thrown behind bars until their bail can be paid.
The American Heart Association is bringing its fund raising program Cardiac Arrest to town to raise money for heart disease research.
"It's really just an opportunity for area businesses to help combat heart disease," Kelly Warren, the regional director for the program, said.
On April 14, the Heart Association as well as a volunteer group called the "parole board" will be arresting volunteers to help raise money for heart and stroke research.
"The event itself is a mock courtroom with a parole board of 20 to 25 people and a judge," Warren said. "The parole board is a group of people that finds volunteers to be arrestees and the arrestees have to raise a certain donation to make bail."
Warren said the heart association's goal is to reduce heart disease by 25 percent by the year 2010.
"Hopefully by 20 10 that will be a reality with the work that has been done," she said.
Bail for each arrestee is set at $100. If $100 dollars is not raised then there is another option.
"Typically we ask them to bring whatever they did raise," she said. "We get a volunteer in the community to play Judge Heartless and if they don't have enough we might make them pay a light sentence to help them make up their bail."
According to Warren, the sentence depends on the judge and can range from having to sing in a funny voice to having to wear a silly costume.
If a company or individual wanted to be involved, but didn't want to be on the parole board there are other options.
"Businesses can serve as sponsors for the event and we have three levels of sponsors," Warren said. "$250 is our bread and water sponsorship, our $500 sponsorship is the arraignment sponsor and then there's the $1000 sponsorship and that's the lockdown sponsor."
Warren appreciates any help the Heart Association can get.
"I would like to ask people top help if they want to work on the parole board, as a sponsor or as an arrestee," Warren said.
According to Senior Director of Corporate Marketing, Gloria Greer, the Cardiac Arrest program is the brain-child of the Heart Association's Executive Vice President, Jack Hanning.
"When he was in the Kansas City affiliate he began the Cardiac Arrest program there 12 years ago," Greer said.
According to Greer the six-week program is generally done in smaller towns and about 200 arrests are made a year.
"It raises between $1 million and $2 million a year in rural areas across five states," Greer said. " It's a cost effective way to raise money here at American Heart Association."
Warren hopes that the local 2005 Cardiac Arrest "Parole Board" will be able to reach its $18,000 goal to help support education and community service programs in the fight against heart disease and stroke.
For more information contact Kelly Warren at (888) 352-3824, ext. 4002 or via e-mail at

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