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02/19/2010

Jailbirds put on display in lobby, begin calls for bail

By Sean Roney
February 17, 2010, King City Rustler

Jailbirds Bobby Martin (left), Vince Lopez and Janeel Welburn make phone calls to collect pledges for their bail during last Friday's Do-Gooders event put on by the Mee Memorial Hospital Service League.

Do-Gooders typically don’t find themselves locked up for their activity, but that’s exactly what happened last Friday.

George Young, Bobby Martin, Butch Heinsen, Janet Buttgereit, Vince Lopez and Janeel Welburn were locked up as part of the Mee Memorial Hospital Service League’s annual Do-Gooder event last Friday. The Do-Gooders were put in prisoner costumes and put on display in the hospital’s lobby, where they had to make calls through the morning and early afternoon, taking pledges for their bail, set at $5000 each.

The fundraising event this year raised over $36000 and organizer Janet Oswald said the number was still going up as more pledges came in from around the county.

“This is by far the best year,” said Service League President Donna Oliveira. “It began two years ago with $20000. Last year we collected a smaller amount, but the bail was smaller because of the economy. This year upped it to $5000, and at last count we’re closing in on $37,000.”

“It was a huge success,” said Oswald. “Everybody pledged nicely. It went off smoothly and we have plans for next year.”

When asked how the Do-Gooders were chose, Oswald said, “We just asked everybody who we thought of would be good to help us out.” Of course, in theme, that asking came in the form of a summons served to the do-gooders the prior Friday, Feb. 5.

Once in their jailbird costumes, the prisoners were served a Western breakfast consisting of sausage casserole, corn bread, a fruit bowl, coffee and orange juice.

“That was their last meal before they went to jail,” said Oswald. “Then gave them certificates and took mug shots, then handcuffed them and read them their rights and put them in jail.”

After being put in the pokey, the jailbirds were scheduled to make calls from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. “Everybody was done by twelve,” said Oswald.

Out on display for everyone to see, and working diligently on the phones, Oswald said of the reaction from the community, “People were donating money, trying to help get these people out of jail. All the husbands and wives of the people came in to see how they were doing.”

Oswald said the event began with a former Service League member trying to find a fun way to raise money for the hospital. The money raised by the jailbird Do-Gooders, as well as other league efforts, is put to use with equipment purchases for Mee Memorial Hospital.

“We use the money to purchase any machinery that they need or any type of thing to help out the hospital,” Oswald said. “We just put a new TV in one of the long term care rooms.” With this year’s money, she said, “We will look into whatever is coming up next that they’ll need.”

Oliveira said one recent item purchased by the Service League was an acrylic display board for the hospital to recruit nursing staff. She said the board is intended for use by the human resources department, to go to job fairs. “Our hospital is quite small,” Oliveira said. “This is going to help highlight the hospital and get the attention of people looking for nursing positions. It should save the hospital a lot of money.”

This being Oswald’s first year of running the event, she said she had many other Service League members to thank, including: Ermaline Plaskett, Nancy Solari, Barbara O’Connor, Janice Grim, Anita McKean, Donna Oliveira and Dorothy Maloney.

“Each year we’re working on making it bigger and better,” said Oliveira of the do-gooder event. “It’s an opportunity for us to thank those in the community that do so much.”

Oswald said to all the Do-Gooders out there, “Get ready. We’re coming after you for next year.”

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