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Fund-raisers sent up the river


The flier sent to the Seattle Sun office read: "WANTED ... Jennifer Holeman

"Description: Usually wears a smile.

"Caution: Heavily armed with kindness... this could be contagious!

"Prior conviction: Thoughtfulness and generosity."

Not wanting to pass up a hot tip, I accompanied Redmond firefighter George Toles on Feb. 12 as he went to Holeman's office at First Horizon Loans in Northgate to apprehend his suspect.

"She's been a bad girl," he explained to me as he arrested Holeman.

"What did I do?," she asked as she was being handcuffed.

"You are accused of extreme niceness," I told her.

"Do you want me to take my purse?" she asked Toles.

"It depends on what you've got in it. Have you got any candy?" he responded.

Holeman was one of several people "arrested" that day as part of a fund-raising event to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Ninety-six people participated in the MDA Lock-up, which was held at the Copper Sky restaurant in the Northgate area.

Upon reaching Copper Sky, which donated a third of its dining space and a banquet meal for all participants, jailbirds were checked in, garbed in stripes and thrown in jail. Volunteer David Cantzler took mug shot photos of the "jailbirds," which included Larry Jennings, manager of Haller Lake Texaco, and Vince Christofferson, manager of Aurora Plumbing and Electric. Each participant was then presented with a card which read, "G-UR-GR8".

Participants knew they were going to be arrested, but in some of the cases, they said it was a mystery as to who gave the MDA their name.

"Who signed you up?" I asked Christofferson.

"That, I don't know ... I'd sure like to find out for next year!" he responded, adding that he plans to have THEM arrested next time.

Jennings said he knew who had him arrested - it was the owners of Haller Lake Texaco, Linnea and Fred Trier. Linnea dropped by Copper Sky with her mother, Mrs. Jungar, to see how things are going at the MDA Lock-up event. "It's a great way to use this guy's time," she joked.

"Warden" Susan Dibbel, district director of the MDA in Seattle, led the jailbirds to a booth at Copper Sky where cell phones, phone books, and pledge forms were provided for them to use to post "bail." "Put on some beads, It's Mardi Gras!," she told her "prisoners."

The jailbirds were instructed to raise bail in the form of pledges. Most got a head start a month earlier when they were first contacted by the MDA. I wandered across the room where David Fu of Snappy Dragon restaurant in Maple Leaf and Dave Adair of Lake City NAPA were busy calling everyone they knew.

Adair, who brought his copy of the Lake City Chamber of Commerce membership directory along with him when he was arrested, began calling people from that list. I was curious about the response he got on the other end. "I tried to get ahold of Bill Pierre Jr. (of Bill Pierre Ford), but he changed his phone number!," exclaimed Adair. Despite his difficulty in reaching people, Adair was able to raise $775 in bail money. The recommended bail was set at $1,500, but participants raised anywhere from $40 to $3,000 bail. All the money raised that day was greatly appreciated by the MDA, said officials for the charity group. MDA officials said that the fund-raising goal for the event was to raise $525 per child to send them to a special camp in Auburn for kids with muscular dystrophy between the ages of 6 and 21. A total of $43,254 was raised by the Lock-up event.

When a jailbird decides they have to go back to work, the MDA provides an escort to take them back to their place of business.

This year, volunteer arresting officers came from Arnold Air Society - the University of Washington Air Force ROTC, Redmond Firefighters, retired Teamsters and family members of muscular dystrophy patients.

MDA spokeswoman Jennifer Gillick said that they were happy to partner with Copper Sky. "We hope the jailbirds will be repeat customers (of the restaurant)," she said.

Gillick also added that Copper Sky manager Randy Ruiz will be invited to present the check on TV during the MDA Telethon on Labor Day this fall.

After the Lock-up event,Toles said he agreed to participate because "I thought it would be fun to do something purposeful on my day off." He committed four hours that day to arresting suspicious do-gooders.

"We're here to make it fun," he added. "She (Holeman) was a good sport - that makes it more fun."