Incarcerated for a cause

Published 5:04 pm Monday, July 12, 2010

More than 100 executives from several different cities will transform the Heart of Dixie Harley-Davidson dealership in Pelham into something resembling Alcatraz during a July 22 fundraiser.

The Muscular Dystrophy Association will hold its third “Bikes, Bail and Bar-B-Q” event from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at the dealership off Alabama 119.

During the event, executives and community leaders from Pelham, Alabaster and Helena will voluntarily lock themselves in makeshift prison cells for one hour as their friends, co-workers and family members donate money to “bail them out,” said MDA Birmingham Program Coordinator Casey Ramey.

“Our lockup event has grown over the past several years, and a few years ago we decided we wanted to enter new areas,” Ramey said, noting the first Shelby County lockup event was in 2007. “Right now, we are expecting about 100 executives from all different businesses in that area.”

During the event, which will feature food from Jim ‘N Nick’s and O’Charley’s and live music, MDA will be looking to reach its $70,000 goal. All money raised during the event will be donated to help the association find a cure for muscular dystrophy.

“Our goal is to raise $70,000. We have done that before,” Ramey said. “We have even been getting calls from some of the participants excited about the amount of bail they had already raised.”

Participants from many area businesses said they were excited about participating in the fundraiser and enjoying time with their friends and colleagues.

“It has been fun and rewarding at the same time,” Shelby Baptist Medical Center Laboratory Director Tim Cumuze said about working to raise his bond. “The response from family, friends, co-workers and associates has been very generous.

“I think they are most excited about seeing me hauled off to jail and pictures from my incarceration,” Cumuze added. “It feels good to be helping kids in need.”

Cynthia Parker, with Barron Industries in Pelham, said raising money to help the association has been rewarding.

“I feel fortunate to work with and know so many generous, wonderful people,” Parker said. “The rewards are much greater than any price of time or energy I have spent.”