Muscular Dystrophy fundraiser

Muscular Dystrophy hosts Lock Up fundraiser
By Bel Huston | September 28, 2011

Be on alert, residents of Oviedo and Winter Springs. You may see a few of your friends and neighbors on “Wanted” posters.

In what will surely be the largest arrest of the year, scores of citizens will be hauled away, fingerprinted and put behind bars. Those in the highest levels of city government have not only condoned their questionable activity, but commended them as well.

That’s because they’ve all signed up to be part of the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s “Lock-Up” fundraiser. Accused by the MDA of having a big heart and being heavily armed with kindness, these do-gooders have volunteered to be arrested in order to raise “bail” by asking their families, friends and coworkers for donations that will benefit local families living with muscular dystrophy, ALS and other progressive muscle diseases.

The actual day of the lock-up will be Oct. 27 and it will be held at Stonewood Grill and Tavern in Winter Springs. On that day, the Seminole County Citizens on Patrol will present a warrant, “arrest” each jailbird and drive them over to Stonewood.

There, they will be fingerprinted, given a jailbird smock, and put behind bars – PVC pipe – and allowed to make calls to let friends know they’re stuck in jail in order to help raise additional bail. Each MDA jailbird’s bail is set at $3,200, which will allow them to be released for “good behavior.”

In the meantime, jailbirds can ask for donations to avoid being locked up.

Oviedo City Councilman Stephen Schenck said this is his second year participating in the fundraiser. A “repeat offender,” having been arrested for the MDA fundraiser in 2009, he said his family and friends now understand that he’s being put behind bars for a good cause.

“I got a couple of calls and emails that were a little panicky,” Schenck said. “This time they understand that I’m being locked up for the MDA. I have it in big letters.”

Schenck said that he’s enjoyed participating in the fundraiser so far.

“A couple of other people I know are involved, so we’re kind of competing against each other try to get some more money. It’s a fun event,” he said. “It’s worthwhile enough for the cause, but the people involved make it a lot of fun to do the work.”

Schenck added that he’s in a friendly competition with a fellow repeat offender, Oviedo-Winter Springs Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Cory Skeates.

“I’m sure he’s probably going to end up beating me because he’s got that elected position, where I don’t,” Skeates said. “He can hold that over people’s heads.”

All kidding aside, Skeates said that although his family and friends think it’s funny to see him behind bars, they’re all supportive of his efforts.

“They’re pretty excited that we have so many people in the community who are willing to give up some time and go through the process to raise money,” he said.

The MDA compiled their list of potential jailbirds by taking nominations from the area, asking one simple question: “Who in you your community would you like to see locked up?” Different industries are targeted, including banking, education and government.

This year, the MDA has a goal of raising $40,000 through the lock-up.

MDA fundraising coordinator Megan Glass said she’s been overwhelmed by the support in the area.

Stonewood, although not normally open between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., the hours the lock-up will take place, has donated their time, space and staff to sponsor the event, she said. She’s thankful that the Citizens on Patrol have volunteered to both pick up their arrestees and return them to their workplaces.

The mayors of both Winter Springs and Oviedo have signed letters for each jailbird commending them for their efforts.

“The response from the Winter Springs and Oviedo community has been so welcoming,” Glass said. “We’ve been really grateful.”

For the residents of Oviedo and Winter Springs, whose cities have been lauded in national magazines as fantastic places to live, this probably comes as no surprise. Still, Skeates has one humorous concern about the culmination of the MDA fundraiser, when a police car will be pulling up to the chamber to pick him up.

“I’m just hoping none of our members are in the parking lot when that happens,” said Skeates. “They’ll really be wondering what’s going on.”

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