United Fund kicks off fundraising

Published 1:28 am Saturday, October 20, 2012

Atmore police officer Arthur Odom brings in his “inmate,” Lillie Johnson during United Fund’s annual lock up event Thursday afternoon.

United Fund is once again up and running as they kicked off their annual fundraising drive Thursday with what has become an anticipated event around town.

United Fund President Lee Ann Allen said this year’s second annual lock up event was even more successful than last year’s, which raised over $22,000.

“The Lock Up for United Fund’s 2013 Drive was a success,” Allen said. “We raised in donations and pledges $24,000.”
So how does a lock up event work? Take a handful Atmore residents, from city leaders to principals and civic organization members, dress them in jail house stripes, hand cuff and take them to jail. Next a bond must be set and the temporary “inmates” must work from their cell phones in order to buy their freedom.

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“We had some great jail birds this year,” Allen said.

This year’s cellmates included Escambia County High School Principal Zickeyous Byrd, Escambia County Middle Preparatory School Principal Anthony Morris, Escambia Academy Headmaster Betty Warren, Cindy Vaughn, Rob Faircloth, Lillie Johnson, Louis English and Allen herself.

Allen said all of the participants were a great help, but some had more trouble than others making “bail.” “Louis English graciously took Chief (Gerry) Mcghee’s place,” Allen said. “He pitched right in and made bail. Mr. Byrd and Dr. Norris were troopers as well. Cindy Vaughan did a splendid job raising her last $600 at the jail. Rob Faircloth was prepared.  He was in and out in a flash. Betty Warren and Lillie Johnson  were our last participants of the day and they did a great job as well. I also raised my funds prior to being locked up, but I stayed a little extra time so that Mr. Byrd wouldn’t be left alone in his cell.”

Allen said the event was a lot of fun, but said she is sincerely appreciative to all of those who took time out of their schedules to help, as well as those who donated the money.

“We are off to a great start, but we still have a long way to go before we reach our $60,000 goal,” Allen said.  “We will be sending letters to the various businesses and individuals in town shortly for their donations.”

Allen also expressed hope that the still-new lock up event will continue to grow.

“We hope to grow this event each year so that we can reach our goal in one day,” she said.

All proceeds from this year’s United Fund drive will go to benefit local organizations, including: Goodwill Easter Seals, American Red Cross, GECA, Save a Life, Atmore Area Christian Care, Progressive Civic and Recreation Club, Council on Aging, HIPPY, Atmore Coop. Library, Atmore Public Library, Atmore Youth Football, girls softball and Concerned Citizens of Atmore.