Roughly 75 people spent a few hours in “jail” Thursday, but the enjoyable experience, easily more hokey than pokey, was all for a good cause – the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s annual Executive Lock-Up. The goal was to raise “bail money” to support adults and children dealing with one of 43 forms of neuromuscular diseases, including ALS, known to many as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Jack Baker’s Lobster Shanty was the safest place in town throughout the morning and afternoon, as Sheriff’s deputies escorted the jailbirds in their squad cars to lovely waterfront “cells,” where they were asked to solicit enough bail to be released.
“I picked up three so far, and mine all wanted to sit in the back. They wanted the handcuffs; the whole thing,” said Jean Rosalita, who participated with nine other deputies. “This is one of the best events I’ve been involved with. It’s great when you can go out and arrest people who want to be arrested.”
Presented with arrest warrants issued for being guilty of having a “big heart,” the smiling arrestees mugged for their mug shots wearing jailhouse stripes and such signs as, “I Got Framed,” “Very Naughty” and “Guilty.”
Participants were asked to raise $4,000, which covers the cost to send five children for one week to an MDA summer camp in Lake Worth, FL, explained Stephanie Glavin, executive director, of the Palm Beach and Treasure Coast MDA district, covering from Sebastian to Boca Raton.
“We have clinics at Nemours in Orlando, Jupiter Medical Center and the University of Miami; we pay for visits with the neurologists,” said Glavin. “A big service is helping with durable medical equipment, such as wheelchairs that need repair. We provide $500 per client family per year.”
“It’s good to go to jail for a good reason,” smiled Ben Goldberg, operations manager for White Glove Moving and Storage, and a volunteer jailbird for the third time. “I’ve got two family members that suffer and I know for a fact what they do. You know it’s going to a good cause. This is one I can truly believe in.”
“Vero is so giving,” said Glavin. “The Vero community is always one of my favorites. It has such a small-town feeling; everyone is so generous. Bob Brackett came this morning and he was our first bail raiser; he bailed out at $4,200.”
“It’s absolutely our pleasure to do whatever we can to help them,” said Lobster Shanty general manager Mark DuBois. “We applaud their efforts. The Sheriff’s Department has been amazing too.”
And there was no basic prison fare for these inmates – Jack Baker’s Lobster Shanty donated a continental breakfast for the early crowd, and for the majority, an extensive buffet featuring Caesar salad, seafood scampi, salmon, chicken and pasta dishes.
“I’m here just helping out because it’s to send kids with muscular dystrophy to camp,” said Nancy Heinrich, representing both SunUp ARC and Growing Healthy Kids. “All kids deserve to have a fun camp experience, whether they have a disability or not. We all need an equal playing field.”
Each of the inmates had his or her own fundraising strategy, but social media, cellphones, texting and emails played a big part in raising what Glavin expected would be about $60,000.