By RYAN SCOTT OTTNEY
PDT Staff Writer
NEW BOSTON — More than a hundred people were “arrested” on Wednesday — each found guilty on charges of helping raise money and awareness for those living with muscular dystrophy.
“We are raising money for local families affected by muscular dystrophy, and we are doing that by locking up local community leaders and having people post their bail to help us help children in our area,” said Sara Tuttle, from the Greater Cincinnati Chapter of the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA).
After agreeing to participate, volunteers began soliciting donations through the MDA website to collect money for their bail. On the day of lock-up, many were met at their home or work by local enforcement officials who “arrested” them and brought them New Boston Applebee’s for booking. They could not leave until they had collected as many donations as possible to post bail.
That bail money helps the Muscular Dystrophy Association provide services in our area.
Among those participating was Portsmouth Mayor David Malone, Portsmouth High School Principal Doug Poage, Daily Times General Manager Michael Messerly, New Boston Village Councilman Mike Payton, and many more.
“I really appreciate Portsmouth and New Boston hosting this event for us today. It means a lot for MDA. I know that in 2010, they netted $60,000 for us. That was one of the largest for us,” said MDA Cincinnati Executive Director Jennifer Ransick.
Scioto County Sheriff’s Capt. David Hall was among the volunteers that were arrested for the program.
“This is a great cause,” he said.”I wasn’t sure that I was going to do it until I saw the letter from a parent whose child has benefited from this in the past. Reading that letter and seeing the photo, how could I not do this?” Hall said.
Before arriving at the Applebee’s jail, Hall had only collected about $70. After being booked and photographed he found a seat at the back of the restaurant and sent out text messages asking for donations to bail him out. Within the hour he had collected $500 more.
Tuttle said each participant was tasked to collect $2,400, knowing that not everyone could meet that goal.
“We just ask them to get as close as they possible can, because $2,400 is enough for us to send three kids to summer camp,” she said.
New Boston Village Administrator Steve Hamilton was also locked up at Applebee’s on Wednesday.
“If we can do anything at all to help early detection to to help people with muscular dystrophy, that’s a good cause. I wish more people would have been involved. The people coming into jail now are all smiling and having a good time,” Hamilton said.
Village Councilman Payton said he would like to see the event return to New Boston next year.
Joining them in Applebee’s lock-up was Minford Superintendent Mark Wilcheck.
“We raised some money at the school really quickly and came down with the bail money in hand. I enjoyed doing this for muscular dystrophy. It’s a good cause and I’m glad to help out,” Wilcheck said.
Tuttle said the MDA had already raised about $9,000 before the jail event began on Wednesday, but said they always collect most of their donations on the day of the lock-up. The Cincinnati MDA hosts similar activities in 13 counties.
Ryan Scott Ottney can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 235, or email@example.com.